I love to write and am a freelance writer who is into history. I use my blog as incentive to write and to hone my skills. My goal is to get published in mainstream magazines and to get my book project published.
Recently on the advice of others I obtained some excellent sources of ideas that also serve as quick references. I highly recommend having them close at hand.
1. Almanac: New York Times World Almanac
Not only a truly awesome book of facts, but if you leaf through it at random with notebook and pen in hand it’s surprising the ideas you can come up with.
2. Desktop Concise Encyclopedia: The Penguin Concise Encyclopedia.
Although only one volume, it is amazing how much info this contains. Again take the time to read it at random every now and then, ideas will be found.
3. AP (Associate Press) Style Guide.
A must in my opinion and at around $12 US it’s a bargain. Most of the major news sources and modern publications use it.
4. World Atlas: I have an 8 1/2 x 11″ size one that fits into my backpack and yet is very well done. It is indispensible for seeing where countries fit into the world. Not only do you need to know about the country, but its setting in the neighborhood, for example what countries are adjacent to it.
5. National Geographic Magazines.
I am fortunate to have a large collection of these. Great for finding article ideas. I also have the 100 year index they published in 1988. Invaluable quick search for subjects that they have covered, especially on the obscure.
6. Time/Life Yearbooks.
These are usually on the newsstands yearly and older issues can be picked up cheaply at garage/yard sales. Nice source of information for a specific year. They are a great addition to your reference library.
7. Dictionary and Thesaurus.
This goes without saying. Far better than those in word processors.
So with these in hand I can now write, write, write……….if only I can find the energy and time. Seriously though, I highly recommend these as excellent items to add to your writers library.