We write a lot about great blogs, courses, books, etc. for writers, but there’s a whole ‘nother realm of resources we’ve never explored with you before — and it’s time we make that right.
I’m talking about YouTube channels.
You may currently know YouTube only as that place you go to watch far too many cute animal videos rather than facing your writer’s block. (No judgment from me; have you seen the one with the tiny hedgehog birthday party?!)
But YouTube also contains a wealth of useful advice on everything from novel writing to marketing your work, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t tap into it.
I’ll make you a deal: for every animal video you watch, watch just one of the videos from the 15 awesome YouTube channels below. I guarantee your writing will be better for it.
1. Jenna Moreci
Sci-fi writer Moreci’s videos are hilarious, no-holds-barred and highly entertaining.
If you’re a book writer yourself, you’ll love her videos on topics like character development, plot generation and scene setting. Other writers will enjoy topics like handling self-doubt, criticism and the 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Writer. Her professional production quality and vibrant personality consistently rank her high on top writing vloggers lists.
(Note: if you’ve got kiddos or day job bosses hanging around your computer on your lunch break, perhaps save Moreci’s videos for another time or plug in some headphones as her delightful frankness also includes plenty of NSFW words.)
Be sure to check out: The Nine Weird Habits of Writers
2. The Creative Penn
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joanna Penn (who runs the writing website of the same name), this popular YouTube channel provides tips on self-publishing, marketing, the business of being a writer, and more.
Penn and other successful writers draw from their own experiences and life lessons to teach you everything you need to know to turn your writing dreams into reality.
Be sure to check out: How To Write More And Create A Daily Writing Habit
Book reviewer and aspiring author Kat O’Keefe’s YouTube channel is chock full of writing videos with everything from micro advice like word choices to macro advice like world building.
Her upbeat personality and sense of humor make every lesson feel fun.
If you’re a NaNoWriMo participant, she’s got a few playlists geared towards how to survive (and win) that challenge.
Be sure to check out: 7 Tips to Improve Your Writing
4. Brandon Sanderson’s Creative Writing Lecture Series
Get your own master class on creative writing with this YouTube channel presented by CameraPanda.com, which allows you to virtually sit in on fantasy and sci-fi author Sanderson’s 2016 winter semester lecture series at Brigham Young University.
Topics range from dialogue creation to plotting to making your own magic systems (if you’re a fellow fantasy/sci-fi writer).
Be sure to check out: Lecture #2 (Cook vs. Chef)
5. Vivien Reis
This YA sci-fi writer, whose debut novel The Elysian Prophecy is due out soon, is a great resource for newbie novel writers trying to make sense of the whole overwhelming process.
Her videos discuss challenges like how to divide your story into chapters, how to choose the right editor and how to find beta readers. Her down-to-earth, imperfections-included style (hello, intruding dogs!) make you feel like you’re video chatting with a friend.
Be sure to check out: 5 Mistakes New Writers Make (And How to Avoid Them)
Ava Jae is a self-described “nerdy, awkward, book-loving writer” who draws from experience as a YA author, freelance editor and assistant editor.
She delivers some great advice on topics like the writing life, sending out queries and editing your work, all delivered in a positive and encouraging (yet totally honest) voice.
Be sure to check out: 5 Signs You’re a Writer
7. Ellen Brock
If you’re working on writing a novel, professional novel editor Brock’s videos will help you whip your story into shape with tons of nuts-and-bolts tips on everything from introducing your protagonist to creating believable conflict.
Her Novel Boot Camp series is a free writing course in itself.
Be sure to check out: How to Plot a Novel
8. Rachael Stephen
Scottish novelist and self-described “hellbitch” Stephen is funny, quirky, and offers non-filtered advice that’s a lovely combination of frank and empathetic. Plus her tips are super-useful (see her How to Build a Story series for tips that make a big, scary process seem entirely doable).
She’s kind of like that accountability buddy who nods understandingly when you talk about the trouble you’re having with writer’s block, then delivers the tail-kicking you need to get moving again.
Be sure to check out: Write Your Damn Novel / Pep Talk
9. Robert McKee
Screenwriting guru and “story doctor” McKee’s former students include Academy Award Winners, Emmy Award Winners and Writers of Guild of America Winners numbering in the hundreds (nominees number in the thousands).
His renowned seminars on the art of storytelling were even portrayed in the film Adaptation. But you don’t need to be a screenwriter to learn from him; his advice on story structure and design applies to literature, too.
As bestseller Steven Pressfield has said, “McKee is not only the best teacher of writing I’ve ever had, but the best teacher of anything.”
Don’t just visit McKee’s own YouTube channel, but also browse the plethora of great videos featuring him on other channels to get the most from his wisdom.
Be sure to check out: Bad Writers Have Nothing to Say (on Big Think)
10. Chris Fox
You know the bestselling author of books like 5,000 Words Per Hour and Write to Market: Deliver a Book That Sells knows how to get the job done.
And in his YouTube videos, Fox delves into how you can become a productive and business-minded writer yourself. Whether you’re editing your writing, prepping to launch or just need some motivation, he’ll help you get your work out the door and into the hands of an audience that will appreciate it.
Be sure to check out: How to Outline Your Novel Part 1: Brainstorm Your Premise
11. Kiera Cass
As the New York Times bestselling YA author of The Selection Series, Cass offer a unique behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to write a book that becomes a hit.
While her last update was posted a year ago, going through her videos from start to finish provides a rare glimpse into the real-life reactions and thoughts of someone whose work found unsuspected success. Cass talks about things like what editorial letters are, how royalties and rights work, and what it’s like to write a sequel, all with an approachable, refreshing genuineness that reminds us successful authors really are just like us.
Be sure to check out: Behind the Book: Nothing’s Changed
12. Kim Chance
Chance teaches high school English and journalism and decided to show her students how awesome reading and writing can be by getting her own work published.
While currently seeking representation for YA novel Keeper, she produces instructional videos that run the gamut from grammar and writing tips to marketing and publishing advice.
She’s perky and polished and delivers even “bad” news in a way that feels comforting (see video below).
Be sure to check out: 6 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Writer
13. Kristen Martin
Those of you pursuing writing while holding down a day job will find a kindred spirit in Martin, who writes YA, sci-fi and fantasy novels while also working full-time in the supply chain industry. (How’s that for a varied career?)
In addition to providing tons of useful tips on how to write, market and self-publish your book, she also gives plenty of peeks into her real life that are both inspiring and comforting to those of us also trying to “do it all.”
Be sure to check out: How To Come Up With Story Ideas For Your Book
At a mere 19 years of age, creative writing student Shaelin Bishop has written eight novels and garnered a following on YouTube that regularly lands on her on lists alongside bigger-name vloggers like Moreci.
Her videos are casual and don’t feel as scripted as some of the others’ on this list; they’re also a bit on the long side (averaging 10-20 minutes while other vloggers’ are closer to 5-10). But writers of all ages will appreciate her candor and realness, whether she’s discussing her outlining process or flipping out over getting her first physical copy of her book.
Be sure to check out: My Note Taking & Brainstorming Process
With six “WordNerds” producing nearly 1,000 videos to date, this channel has a little bit of everything.
Different topics are posted on different days of the week, so you’ll find everything from inspiration to interviews to book recommendations. Follow your favorite vloggers’ updates or peruse them all; it’s sort of like a writers’ roundtable whose sessions you can pop into at any time.
Be sure to check out: Vlogger’s Choice: Life as a Full Time Writer
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