Let’s face it, there’s plenty to do on the internet. You can watch viral videos, live feeds, get carried away in online encyclopedias and research journals, play games with friends, or, spend hours on social media scrolling through a feed that literally never ends. These distractions are available to anyone with access to decent internet; unfortunately, this includes writers who may be attempting to to be productive. 

While it’s impractical for most of us to avoid the internet in the name of productivity, there are some things you can do to steer your screen time in a productive direction. Instead of focusing on what not to do; we suggest filling your tabs and bookmark folders with helpful resources that can be front and center as soon as you open your browser. The internet is full of these resources, so once you’ve set aside your distractions for the day and silenced your notifications we’ve compiled a list of great websites, communities, and resources to bookmark and hopefully turn into your next habit. 

1. Join Reddit Communities That Promote Writing

Reddit is one of the most frequented websites in the world, so there’s a good chance you’re already on the platform. However, Reddit offers a way to customize your homepage and notification preferences, allowing you to control the type of content you see and that’s sent to your inbox. Consider subscribing to /r/writing/ , /r/DestructiveReaders/ , and /r/WritingPrompts/. These subreddits promote writing in various forms, the latter two even act as critique groups. 

2. Participate in Facebook and Discord Critique Groups

Social media doesn’t have to be distracting; while some mobile-centric platforms like Instagram and Snapchat don’t provide a way to communicate in long-form writing, there’s still Facebook. Facebook has groups specialized for just about anything, including one called “Writing, Prompts & Critiques“. With over 500 posts per month, the group is a very active place to practice your writing, with opportunities to practice with other members in real-time. Similarly, Discord offers thousands of communities tagged under “Writing,” one of the more notable being “No Sleep ‘Til Bookdun,” an active group pledging to follow through with their book ideas.

3. Listen and watch Famous Authors explain their process

By searching for your favorite writers while logged into YouTube, you can train the algorithm to send you more motivating content. After you watch a helpful video, be sure to like it or even subscribe to the channel that posted it. For instance, did you know that Stephen King has spoken at multiple conferences with student and professional audiences, or that Brandon Sanderson’s entire course at Brigham Young University is available for free? I didn’t either until it popped up on my YouTube suggestions. Absorbing the advice and lessons of award-winning, legendary authors can be just the motivation you need to enhance your ability to write compelling content. 

If you’re willing to invest a little more into video lectures, MasterClass offers exclusive courses created and delivered by world-renowned writers; plus you’ll get access to classes in almost every other area you might be looking to improve yourself. 

4. Utilize the Variety of Free Courses

Outside of YouTube lectures are entirely free courses aimed at numerous writing niches. Two popular platforms – Udemy and Coursera – are partnered with universities across the world. If you’re interested in learning more about storytelling, writing romance, and prefer learning with classmates, these are excellent resources. The courses operate similarly to traditional university courses, with syllabi, recorded lectures, modules, and some offer the option to have your assignments checked when enrolled in the certificate (paid) option. Without the certificate, the classes are generally free. Another extremely popular writing course is on Khan Academy and was produced with Pixar, to help aspiring writers develop their storytelling. A bonus for Khan Academy is the lack of unrelated content and advertising distractions that might pull focus on other platforms. 

5. Find Discussions and Participate!

If going through an entire course or lecture sounds too time-consuming, find online discussions about topics you’re interested in. Platforms like Quora make it easy to participate, and they give you the opportunity to practice your writing through a semi-live discussion with people interested in the same topic. Want to debate the greatest power forwards in basketball? Employ your research and persuasion skills to write concise, compelling Quora posts. Additionally, you could also engage in Twitter threads, as the character limit could promote summary writing.

Constructive feedback is a must for new and experienced writers. Luckily, the normal distractions of the internet can be tweaked to serve a much more productive purpose. By using this list as a starting point, you can ensure that the notifications and algorithmic suggestions set you up for success as a writer! For more writing help check out Writing Tips for People Who Hate Writing.