Below you’ll find various websites, apps, and books that have helped me improve my writing and create this blog. May they help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Grammarly is a program that checks your grammar and usage as you write. While not fool-proof, it does catch many common errors, and as someone writing a blog with “grammar” in the title, I’d rather be safe than sorry. The free version includes a browser extension that will check your writing in everything from WordPress to Gmail. Check it out here.
The WordPress theme on which this site runs. Thesis is super easy to use and allows a ton of customization without a ton of coding.
Ever wondered how some people manage to Tweet so much? It’s possible that they’re just addicts, but it’s likely that they’re paying someone to do it for them or using a tool such as Buffer. Buffer allows you to schedule your social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest in advance. You provide the text and any relevant links or photos, and Buffer will determine the ideal time for posting it. I’m currently using the free plan, but I’ve seriously considered the Awesome (paid) plan, which allows you to schedule more posts and connect more accounts.
They also have one of the best social media blogs I’ve seen, and I don’t even like reading about social media. Seriously, it’s that good!
Anything you’re reading here on Grammar Is Sexy started its life as a note in Evernote. Evernote is a writer’s dream come true, a way to quickly outline a blog post or even write an entire article. Where it beats other word processing software, though, is its organizational capabilities and clean interface. Not to mention its search function. Even if you’re not perfectly organized, it’s easy to find anything you’ve written.
Evernote has an excellent mobile app as well.
I don’t use it every day, but when I was writing my e-book Blogging Is Sexy, Scrivener was invaluable. Sure, you could write a book in regular word processing software, but it quickly becomes a pain to manage so many large files. Scrivener solves this issue by allowing you to view all your chapters from within the same program, easily organizing them and previewing the final product.
It makes book writing, dare I say, fun?
When it comes to the actual Grammar Is Sexy website, WordPress is the meat and potatoes. Every blog post may begin its life in Evernote, but WordPress is where it matures.
WordPress is an intuitive program for managing your website and blog. There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to use it to create a website, but I recommend either this one by Thomas Frank of College Info Geek (Full Disclosure: I write for this site) or this one by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
On Writing by Steven King
Part memoir-part writing advice, this book is entertaining and informative. Drawing upon his many years of experience writing dozens of successful books, King shares tips on writing, revision, and getting published. The section in which he shows his ruthless editing process with an actual manuscript is especially enlightening. Read it for the perfect blend of inspiration and no-BS advice.
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
First published in 1959, this book by Cornell professor William Strunk Jr. and renowned author E.B. White (yes, the same who wrote Charlotte’s Web) gives advice on usage, style, and composition, to use the authors’ terms. The book treats grammar as something integral to clear, effective writing, wasting no time with academic jargon. Each section is structured as a series of numbered “tips,” making it a quick, useful read.
The Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
“A Punctuation Handbook for the the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed,” the book’s subtitle, just about says it all. Using hilarious example sentences accompanied by vintage illustrations, Gordon explains the various punctuation marks and how to use them. I come back to the section on commas often.
Here are a few of the funniest examples:
“Not only were we naked, crazed, and starving (and far from our warm little homes); we were without any good books as well” (59).
“A drug: It gives you back all the headaches the world has stolen from you” (65).
“I wish people wouldn’t say ‘Excuse me’ when I want them to step on my feet” (77).
The Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
From the author of The Well-Tempered Sentence comes “A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed.” Gordon expands upon her first book to cover all aspects of English grammar using the same funny examples and quirky vintage illustrations.
Here are some great lines:
“Sometimes bras and panties would cry out to her to touch them as she navigated her way through the boutique” (109).
“Very well, I’ll slick your hair down myself” (23).
“He begged her to think indecently of him” (131).
The Brief McGraw-Hill Handbook by Maimon, Peritz, and Yancey
Heftier and more technical than the other books on this list, this is my go-to reference for specific grammar and style questions. Especially helpful as a concise reference for MLA and APA, two of the main academic writing styles. A bit pricey on Amazon, but I’ve seen cheap copies on Half.com or other used book sites. Check your local used bookstore as well.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
I wish I’d read this book sooner. As someone who writes about the craft of writing, Zinsser is my new model of excellence. He covers some basic grammar and usage, but he’s at his best when he walks through the process of putting together pieces of writing. He systematically covers every nonfiction form from business to science to memoir writing. Throughout, he is encouraging, affirming, and refreshingly funny. Reading Zinsser feels like having a conversation with the English professor everyone wishes they had.
A list of every Grammar Is Sexy blog post to date.
- 2016: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
- 2015: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
- 5 Ways Writers Can Avoid Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
- 11 Things William Zinsser Taught Me about Writing
- What to Do When You Fall off the Wagon
- The Tools I Use to Create Grammar Is Sexy (How I Work Part 2)
- What My Freshman English Professor Taught Me about Drafts and Rewrites
- Notes to (Future) Me (How I Work Part 1)
- How to Be Authentic in Your Writing
- Writing Is Thinking
- To Be a Great Writer (or Blogger), Read like One
- To Get Ahead on Writing, Avoid My Mistakes
- 5 Strategies to Write Long-form Blog Posts
- 9 Things That Drive Editors Crazy
- My 5 Step Process for Editing Written Content
- My Top 6 Resources for Blogging, Copywriting, and Online Business
- Study The Masters Part 3: James Clear
- Study The Masters Part 2: Zen Habits
- Study the Masters Part 1: Brain Pickings
- Book Launch!
- Play with Formatting and Text
- Deliberate Organization: What We Can Learn from the Structure of Italo Calvino's "Why Read the Classics"
- Stop Overusing These Words!
- Spelling Still Counts
- Learning New Words With Anki: An Update
- Grammar Is Sexy's First E-book!
- Relax and Read
- Slow Reading
- Some of The Best Reading Advice on The Web
- How To Increase Your Vocabulary Through Reading
Note: I only recommend books, products, or websites that I have actually used and benefited from. Many of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and buy the product mentioned, I receive a small commission, which helps me continue to bring you this site. For more info, please see my Disclosure page.