Everything Is A Remix

The Internet and information technology has been an incredible catalyst for human creativity. Today, nearly anyone in a developed country can own their means of creative production and use inexpensive digital tools to become an active creator of art, music and culture.

Everything Is A Remix examines how the process of creativity, learning and innovation is similar to the way we remix music and art by copying, transforming and combining old ideas to form new ones.

15
Oct 2017
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IBM’s Watson: Smartest Machine on Earth

IBM’s revolutionary artificial intelligence system Watson entered the limelight in 2011 when it went up against the world’s best human contestants at Jeopardy. With a brain the size of 2,400 home computers and a database of about 10 million documents, can Watson compute its way to victory?

The Smartest Machine on Earth tells the story of the creation of Watson, and how artificial intelligence and machine learning will transform all kinds of industries and occupations.

15
Oct 2017
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Humans Need Not Apply

The most challenging economic trend of our time is the replacement of routine work with robots and software. The reality is that technological progress is now replacing more jobs than it creates. This means we will need a social and political revolution or be faced with mass unemployment and societal breakdown.

Human Need Not Apply explores how machines are replacing humans right now and why the skills that machines can’t replicate such as human connection, creativity and social intelligence are more important than ever.

10
Oct 2017
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Future Learning: What’s Wrong With School?

Our school system perfectly prepares students for the 20th century industrial economy. However, times have changed and today it failure to prepare us with the necessary confidence in our innate curiosity and creative skills. This is what we will need to transform the world and thrive in the 21st century economy.

Future Learning is a series of thought-provoking interviews with education innovators about how to better engage and empower self-directed learners so they can unlock the new possibilities created by technological innovation.

05
Oct 2017
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On The Brink Of A Networked Society

The Internet of Things and the way we communicate through Internet-based networks is transforming our society. Attempting to understand how these changes are shaping business, education and a new social order will give you a glimpse into the future.

On The Brink of a Network Society is the first part of a 4-part series on the future of our networked society. The documentary series features interviews with creative thought leaders who discuss concepts like borderless opportunities, developing creativity and new open business models.

30
Sep 2017
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Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration

 

New social technologies such as crowdsourcing and open source collaboration are giving us the power to take a bigger part in the decision-making processes of governments. This will radically change the shape of our governments and our societies.

Us Now is about the power of mass collaboration, the government and the Internet. It’s a fascinating look at how corrupt and inefficient bureaucracies will be dramatically downsized and their power will return to the people.

PressPausePlay

The digital revolution has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, creating nearly unlimited opportunities for those who can master the digital media arts and convince others of the value of their talents.

PressPausePlay looks at his new democratized culture of creativity and how it is reshaping the arts and culture. The film features interviews with some of the most influential creators of the digital age.

Collaboration: On the Edge of a New Paradigm

This excellent documentary grew out of an experiment in collaboration undertaken by Danish student Alfred Birkegaard for his PhD in Philosophy. He traveled to the heart of Silicon Valley to interview the pioneers who are engineering the future of digital communication and collaboration.

Collaboration: On The Edge of a New Paradigm is the story of how the Internet is pushing the boundaries of research, collaboration and knowledge creation. The result is a revolutionary paradigm shift where learning and working is becoming a more collaborative process.

100 Best Websites for Writers 2017

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017

What do you picture when you imagine yourself writing?

Are you quietly tapping away on your office desktop computer in the early morning hours? Maybe you’re scribbling new ideas and observations amidst the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop.

It’s likely that you imagined yourself alone. And that’s not surprising, because when it comes down to actually doing the work, you — the writer — are the one who has to put pen to paper.

But here’s the thing about great writing: it takes a village.

They may be your words, but the words you write are a culmination of years of practice, learning from mentors, emulating your favorite authors, workshopping with peers and supporting fellow writers.

 

blogging

1. Be a Freelance Blogger

Sophie Lizard teaches you how to take your freelance blogging skills to pro level. Through her blog posts, free community and jobs board, you’ll increase your blogging income and become an expert in your niche.

2. Beyond Your Blog

Are you working to grow your blog audience? Beyond Your Blog provides practical tips and resources for getting published on other blogs and and in digital publications, so you can tap into new groups of engaged fans.

3. Copyblogger

Take your content marketing, SEO and community building skills to the next level with Copyblogger’s library of free ebooks, blog posts, forums and more. It’s a leading resource for professional blogging from the creators of the Rainmaker Platform for digital marketing.

4. ProBlogger

Founder Darren Rowse and the ProBlogger team bring you the latest news and tips to build a better blog. This site offers extensive resources on how to monetize your blog, as well as a job board constantly updated with new blogging opportunities.

5. See Jane Write

At See Jane Write, founder Javacia Harris Bowser seeks to empower women to be “authors of their own lives and live a life worth writing about.” Consistently recommended by many of our readers, See Jane Write is a great place for bloggers who are looking to grow their platforms and turn their blogs into businesses.

6. Aliventures

Ali Luke provides both practical and motivational advice on writing books, blogging and building a business around your writing. Check out her Writer’s Huddle community and ebooks on blogging.

7. Ann Kroeker

Author and writing coach Ann Kroeker is on a mission to help writers reach their goals by maximizing curiosity, creativity and productivity. Her website is home to numerous blog posts, podcasts and resources for writers.

8. Australian Writers’ Centre

No matter what type of writing you enjoy, the Australian Writers’ Centre has a course for you. Along with a full blog archive, this site offers dozens of online and in-person courses on freelance writing, creativity, novel writing, business writing, blogging and more. Courses start at $97.

9. Bang2Write

If you’re a screenwriter, Bang2Write is for you. This site offers tons of advice on how to develop great stories and pitch your scripts, along with best practices for writing research.

10. Barely Hare Books

You are the hero of your own novel-writing adventure, and Rae Elliott of Barely Hare Books is here to help you defeat the monster keeping you from writing that fandom-worthy story. With blog posts, a podcast and several ebooks, this site has lots to explore.

100 best websites for writers 2017

11. C. S. Lakin’s Live Write Thrive

Author, editor and writing coach C. S. Lakin loves helping writers get their manuscripts ready for publication. At Live Write Thrive, she writes about proper scene structure, character development, editing and crafting a fantastic story.

12. DIY MFA

The folks at DIY MFA believe you can access the benefits of an Master in Fine Arts without having to go the traditional (expensive) route. It all comes down to a simple but powerful combination: writing with focus, reading with purpose and building your community.

13. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Prolific mystery author Elizabeth Spann Craig blogs about all things relevant to a writer’s life, including public speaking, productivity, gaining visibility and connecting with the wider author community. Her weekly roundup of writing articles is a reader favorite.

14. Eva Deverell

A passionate writer and creative writing teacher, Eva Deverell offers tons of resources for readers, writers, poets and people who just love learning. With worksheets, blog posts, writing prompts and ebooks, this site offers practical ways to deepen your craft.

15. Every Writer

At Every Writer, owner and editor Richard Edwards covers everything you can imagine about writing, including writing tools, website building, and how to overcome writer’s block. He even shares tips on starting a literary magazine. Check out his poetry and writing contests, too.

16. Fiction University

Janice Hardy understands there’s no “right” way to write. So instead of giving advice on what writers should do, she explains how to make industry rules work for you. With new articles and guest columns every day, you’ll gain valuable insight into the book-writing and publishing process.

17. How to Write a Book Now

At How to Write a Book Now, author Glen C. Strathy shares tips on everything about the writing and book publishing process, from where to start, to story model analysis, to creating compelling characters. Readers can also submit their questions about writing.

18. Inky Girl

Inky Girl is the place for children’s book writers and illustrators. Debbie Ridpath Ohi shares original comics, interviews with industry experts, and advice on telling unique stories. Her series on writing picture books is a reader favorite.

19. Journalist’s Resource

Run by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, Journalist’s Resource offers write-ups on the latest scholarly studies, reports and data. This is a great place to find reliable research as well as inspiration for your next freelance article.

20. Knockin’ Books

The editors at Knockin’ Books are self-described “addicted” to reading, so they’ve created this site to help connect readers and authors. Whether you’re a reader looking for your next favorite book, or a writer looking for a beautiful cover design, you’ll find it at Knockin’ Books.

21. Lucy Flint and the Lionhearted Writing Life

After eight years of a love/hate relationship with writing, Lucy Flint went on a mission to explore how writing can be more enjoyable, easy and fulfilling. In her blog posts, she shares tips on how to be more courageous in your writing, stop being stuck and more. Her site is a mini dance party for your writing life.

22. Market Meditations

At Market Meditations, Charles Chu documents the experiments and lessons he’s learned in the pursuit of being more productive, successful and effective at the work he does. This is a great blog to follow if you’re looking to raise your potential at work.

23. Positive Writer

In the pursuit of creating work that matters, all writers get stuck from time to time. Doubts can creep in, and it’s sometimes hard to get back on track. Bryan Hutchinson offers motivating blog posts to help you move beyond writing paralysis and finish the work you set out to create.

24. PsychWriter

At PsychWriter, Tamar Sloan explores the intersection of psychology and writing, specifically as it pertains to character development and reader engagement. This blog covers the art of making your characters and story believable.

25. Re:Fiction

No matter what kind of fiction writer you are, Re:Fiction welcomes you. This site offers resources to help you at all stages, from getting better at writing, to publishing, to marketing and building your platform. It also offers multiple scholarships for professional editing and critiques each month, on manuscripts of up to 5,000 words.

26. The Write Practice

What do all successful writers have in common? Practice. At The Write Practice, Joe Bunting and his team help you develop your writing rhythm and grow into your voice and identity as a writer.

27. The Writing Kylie

Kylie Day’s blog is a great place for those who are in the midst of writing a novel. With tips on outlining and story structure, and a dose of inspirational posts about the writing life, this blog will help you on your path from story idea to complete manuscript.

28. Tweetspeak Poetry

Tweetspeak Poetry is the go-to site for “the best in poetry and poetic things.” Here, readers and writers alike can indulge in beautiful poetry, writing workshops, book clubs and more. This is also a great place to find resources for teaching poetry.

29. Write or Die

Writer Mandy Wallace believes that when it comes to writing, you can’t wait to become inspired or for luck to strike. Just “Show up, shut up, and write,” and sooner or later it will all come together. Wallace’s blog documents the writing lessons she’s learned and offers practical guides for upgrading your own writing.

30. Writerology

The one constant when it comes to writing? It all comes down to the people: you as a writer, your characters and their development, and the audience you seek to connect with. At Writerology, Faye Kirwin combines her expertise in writing and psychology to help you hone your craft, understand people, and write amazing stories.

31. Writers Helping Writers

Authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind resources that writers will actually use. Their books and blog posts focus on helping writers become better storytellers, and their One Stop For Writers library is teeming with tools for planning, researching and writing your book.

32. Writers In The Storm

Just like their characters during perilous times, writers must weather the storm of their profession — and shifting industry tides. Run by a group of authors, the Writers In The Storm blog provides inspiration and tips for writers during all stages of the process.

33. Writer Unboxed

Frustrated their analytical articles about books and movies were rejected, founders Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton decided to create Writer Unboxed in 2006 so they could freely publish their observations. It has since grown into a thriving community where writers of all levels can contribute their thoughts on the craft of writing.

34. Write to Done

Write to Done is all about learning to write well. Founder Mary Jaksch brings the age-old advice to keep writing to a whole new level, noting that it’s not practice that makes you a better writer — it’s practice directed in a positive way.

35. Grammar Girl

You may speak English fluently, but the language can still be quite a mystery. Grammar Girl is the go-to guide for all things “grammar, punctuation, usage, and fun developments in the English language.” She has a popular podcast, too.

36. Kathy Steinemann

Kathy Steinemann loves words. On her blog, she shares master lists of adjectives and offers tips for avoiding overused words and being more descriptive and original in your writing.

37. Scribendi

Scribendi is focused on the art of editing and proofreading. Their resources for writers cover everything from grammar, to finding inspiration, to the mechanics of writing.

38. Comps & Calls

On the first of each month, Cathy Bryant posts an extensive list of competitions, contests and calls for submission. She notes whether they’re paid or not, for quick skimming. This site is a great one-stop shop for all recent writing opportunities.

39. Elna Cain

Elna Cain believes you don’t need experience to be a successful freelance writer — you just need a passion for writing. On her blog, she shares tips and strategies to help new freelance writers succeed.

40. Freelancer FAQs

You have questions, they have answers. Team members and guest contributors at Freelancer FAQs address all the things you’ve ever wanted to know about freelance life, including marketing, getting started, recommended resources, money management and more.

41. Freelance to Freedom

You love to write. But in order to be a successful freelancer, you need to work those business muscles. That’s where Freelance to Freedom comes in. Founder Leah Kalamakis offers articles and e-books that teach everything from client management to setting up your business website.

42. Freelance to Win

At Freelance to Win, Danny Margulies wants you to stop compromising and start living a life of freedom — all by building a freelance career. Danny is an expert at landing gigs on Upwork, and his blog shares all the latest tips on how to use this platform for ultimate success.

43. Freelance Writing

It’s been around since 1997 and is still going strong: Freelance Writing has an extensive archive of articles, tutorials, media and resources all geared to helping you build a successful career. Its jobs listings get updated daily, so you’re always in the know about new opportunities.

44. FundsforWriters

Hope Clark believes writing can be a realistic career for all writers. Her weekly newsletter lists the best competitions, grants and other well-paying markets, and her platform has grown to include a blog and a bi-weekly paid newsletter with even more high-paying opportunities per issue.

45. Horkey Handbook

Within six months of starting her freelance writing career, Gina Horkey was earning $4,000 a month. Now, she wants to help others achieve their dreams of making a real living off freelance writing. Check out her free five-day kickstart course.

46. LittleZotz Writing

Lauren Tharp has found a way to write as a freelancer full time and is dedicated to helping other writers do the same. With bi-monthly newsletters, a blog, and a podcast, LittleZotz is a great source of practical tips for your freelance life.

47. Make a Living Writing

At Make a Living Writing, Carol Tice helps writers move up from low-paying markets and earn more from their work. With her blog, e-books and paid community, you’ll find awesome advice, support and resources to grow as a freelance writer.

48. Pen & Pro$per

At Pen & Pro$per, Jennifer Brown Bank shares more than 15 years of professional writing experience to help others reach financial success with their writing. As one The Write Life reader said, “With an outstanding array of diverse topics, tips and tricks of the writing profession, this is a blog well worth bookmarking!”

49. Untamed Writing

“Your life is YOUR life. You should be able to do whatever you want with it.” So says Karen Marston, founder of Untamed Writing, her internet home for helping people build a freelance writing career they love without sacrificing their freedom. You’ll find a full archive of blog posts, resources and courses to develop your writing skills, fearlessly approach clients, and maintain a successful career.

best websites for writers

50. Writers in Charge

With over 600 posts in its archives, Writers in Charge is filled with resources and leads for freelance writers who are looking to be well-compensated for their work. Don’t miss founder Bamidele Onibalusi’s master list of 110 websites that pay writers.

51. Writers Weekly

Around since 1997, Writers Weekly is a tried-and-true resource for freelance writers. It offers regular updates on paying markets, as well as expert interviews and success stories.

52. Writing Revolt

At Writing Revolt, Jorden Roper is leading a revolution to help freelance writers and bloggers make serious money. Her site is filled with actionable articles, courses and resources that will help you become better at writing, pitching and landing great clients.

53. HubSpot

For business, sales and marketing-focused writers, HubSpot is a great place to stay on top of the latest research, insights, and strategies for connecting with your audience and making them fall in love with your brand.

54. Kikolani

Founder Kristi Hines brings you the latest strategies, trends and how-tos in digital marketing. Kikolani is a must-have resource for business and professional bloggers who want to make their brands stand out.

55. MarketingProfs

If you’re looking to grow your expertise in marketing communications, MarketingProfs is the place to go. It offers articles, podcasts, training events and more, so you can learn to use strategic, data-driven marketing.

56. Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s blog might not be specifically about writing, but his daily bits of wisdom on business, marketing and life will help you approach your work in new ways. His posts never fail to inspire an energy to “Go, make something happen.”

57. Shelley Hitz

Shelley Hitz believes everyone has a message, and she’s on a mission to help you reach your target audience and build your author platform. With her blog posts, podcast and Author Audience Academy, you’ll find tons of content on book writing, publishing and marketing.

58. The Creative Penn

Author Joanna Penn has built a best-selling writing career, and she wants to help you do it, too. Her site offers a wealth of resources on self-publishing and platform-building — from her articles and ebooks to her popular podcast library of author interviews.

59. Beautiful Writers Podcast

On the Beautiful Writers Podcast, host Linda Sivertsen features authors and thought leaders about their writing, business and publishing adventures. With a touch of spirituality, these conversations are great listens for those interested in creative contemplation.

60. Create If Writing

We all love writing, but sometimes platform building and promotion don’t feel as natural. That’s where Create If Writing comes in; host Kirsten Oliphant shares tips and tools on how to build an authentic platform for your creative brand.

61. I Should Be Writing

With author interviews and a huge archive, I Should Be Writing chronicles the journey to becoming a professional author. Conversations focus primarily on speculative fiction and traditional publishing.

62. Rocking Self Publishing

Looking to be a published indie author? This podcast is for you. Each week host Simon Whistler interviews some of the top names in self-publishing, so you can create success for yourself.

63. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast

On the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast, the hosts interview successful authors, engage in group discussions and dive deep into specific writing genres and niches. This is a smart listening option for those looking for solid discussion around the science fiction and fantasy markets.

64. Self Publishing Formula

Hosted by a writer who’s just starting out and another who is a best-selling author, the Self Publishing Formula podcast features interviews with some of the biggest names in the self-publishing game. Listen for tips on writing, publishing, marketing and more.

65. Story Geometry

Ben Hess is an award-winning producer, director and screenwriter. After hitting a creative wall, he decided to start Story Geometry, where he interviews esteemed writers on their craft.

66. Story Grid

On the Story Grid podcast, author Shawn Coyne and “struggling” writer Tim Grahl discuss the art and science of writing a story that resonates. There’s a blueprint for great novels — and these co-hosts seek to crack the code.

67. The Dead Robots’ Society

Throughout the nearly 400 episodes in its archive, the many hosts of The Dead Robots’ Society gather to discuss their writing journeys and offer tips on the writing process. They also  occasionally invite guests on the show.

68. The Worried Writer

On The Worried Writer podcast, Sarah Painter investigates how authors overcome anxiety, distractions and worried feelings on their way to publishing success. Listen to this podcast if you’re looking for practical advice on managing self doubt.

69. The Writer Files

On The Writer Files, host Kelton Reid uncovers the secrets of productivity and creativity of some of the most well-known writers. If you find yourself stuck, plagued with writer’s block or just need to get those writing gears turning again, this podcast is for you.

70. Writer 2.0

On Writer 2.0, A. C. Fuller sits down with bestselling authors and publishing experts like literary agents and book marketers. This show offers great content around both traditional and self-publishing, as well as the writing journey.

71. Writing Class Radio

This show brings you inside an actual writing class, where you can hear other people tell their stories, witness breakthroughs, and hear the ins and outs of learning to write well.

72. Writing Excuses

In these weekly 15-minute episodes, writers Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells talk about all things writing. They often have season-long themes — check out season 10 for a masterclass-type season on creating a story.

73. Your Creative Life

On the Your Creative Life podcast, co-hosts Vanessa Carnevale and Kimberley Foster help writers connect to their creativity. With discussions on publishing, platform building and different genres of writing, this is a choice place to find inspiration.

74. Anne R. Allen

Publishing veterans Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris created this online space to offer wisdom and tips for navigating the increasingly complex (and sometimes predatory) publishing world. Whether you’re an indie author or looking to land a traditional publishing deal, check out their archives and resources.

75. Better Novel Project

Christine Frazier takes a scientific approach to writing a best-selling novel. She deconstructs popular books to pinpoint the common elements they share. These findings are then incorporated into the “master outline” for a better, research-backed novel. Follow along for insights on plot, word counts and character development.

76. Go Teen Writers

Stephanie Morrill knows a love of writing often starts at a young age. That’s why she created Go Teen Writers: to provide encouragement, community and wisdom to aspiring teen writers who want to learn more about how to finish a novel and get it published.

77. Helping Writers Become Authors

Consider K. M. Weiland your writing and publishing mentor. With hundreds of blog posts, instructional ebooks, and an exclusive e-letter, her website is the perfect place to find the answers to all your questions. She also responds to every email she receives (really!) about writing, publishing and marketing fiction.

78. Jane Friedman

Former publisher Jane Friedman explores the intersection of publishing, authorship and the digital age. With more than 15 years in the industry, Friedman knows her stuff — and her blog is a wealth of information on how to embrace “the future of authorship.”

79. Jenny Bravo Books

Author Jenny Bravo offers personal anecdotes and guidance for writers who want to take a leap into the publishing world. From her blog full of tips to her “Blots and Plots Party” Facebook group, to her Busy Writers Starter Kit, Jenny is here to help you realize your dream of writing a book.

80. My Story Doctor

At My Story Doctor, author David Farland offers tips and workshops on how to write your story and get it published. He offers strategic advice on the business of writing, covering topics like how to get great deals and make the most of your publishing opportunities.

81. Nail Your Novel

At Nail Your Novel, bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor Roz Morris shares her best traditional and self-publishing tips as well as musings on the writing process. Be sure to check out her radio show “So You Want to Be a Writer?”

82. Novel Publicity

The team at Novel Publicity believes every story should be told, and have its own platform and loyal fans. With that core belief in mind, it provides guidance on writing, marketing and publishing. Posts cover everything from social media strategy and book design to finances and author blogging.
Post you’ll like: Money, Money, Money: The Finances of Publishing

83. Self-Publishing School

Chandler Bolt believes everyone has a book inside them. With proven systems and strategies, the Self-Publishing School blog will walk you through writing and publishing your book, even if you don’t even know what you want to write about yet!

84. She’s Novel

It took Kristen Kieffer two and a half years to finish her first draft — then she realized she had made every mistake in the book. She vowed not to let these personal lessons go to waste, so she created She’s Novel, a blog and resource hub that helps writers more-easily navigate the journey of crafting brilliant novels.

85. Standoutbooks

You’ve written your book. Now what? Standoutbooks has tons of articles, templates, tools and resource recommendations for getting your book published and marketed to the max. While you’re there, grab your free Book Marketing Plan and Press Release templates.

86. The Book Designer

At The Book Designer, Joel Friedlander uses his experience in book design, advertising and graphic design to help writers “build better books” and get published. Along with his extensive blog archive, check out his book design templates and Book Launch Toolkit.

87. The Steve Laube Agency

What better way to get book publishing advice than from an agent himself? From resource recommendations to eight years (and counting!) of blog archives, The Steve Laube Agency website is full of advice for writers who are taking their first steps into the world of publishing.

88. Writer’s Digest Editor Blogs

Writer’s Digest is home to many resources, competitions, and communities. Their editor columns are quite popular, and we particularly like The Write Life contributor Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents, featuring all types of information on finding literary agents, sending query letters, building an author platform and marketing your book.

89. Writer’s Relief

For more than 20 years, Writer’s Relief has helped creatives successfully submit their writing to literary journals, book publishers, agents and more. The staff’s blog is full of publishing tips, and they also have a paid-subscriber-only classifieds section listing contests, conferences and residences.

90. Chronicles

Chronicles is a thriving community for science fiction and fantasy writers. Community members gather to discuss favorite books, authors and common themes in science fiction and fantasy writing.

91. Fiction Writing

The Fiction Writing Facebook group is a community of nearly 10,000 writers. Here, you can post your writing for critique or reviews, and veteran members can announce details about upcoming book releases and published pieces.

92. Inkitt

Inkitt is a data-driven book publisher and community where writers can share their work and find an audience for free, even if their novel is not yet finished. Inkitt’s algorithm analyzes reading behaviors to understand whether a novel has a strong potential to become a big success. If readers love your work, Inkitt will offer you a publishing deal.

93. Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Whether you’re just beginning to write or a best-selling pro, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is here to help you overcome whatever doubts and insecurities might keep you from being your best.

94. Now Novel

The Now Novel program offers a structured, straightforward way to get your book done. With a step-by-step process that takes the guessing out of what to do next, personalized mentorship and community groups for even more support, you’ll be an author in no time.

95. Prose

Prose is a social network platform for writers who want to focus on the work — not the superficiality of social media. This is a great place to publish your work, connect with other authors, and participate in writing challenges.

96. She Writes

Over 27,000 writers of all levels of expertise have joined this buzzing community, founded by author Kamy Wicoff. At She Writes, you can create your own profile, build your network, share your work, get expert advice and feedback and discuss all types of topics in the forum.

97. Talentville

Talentville is the online destination for screenwriters and storytellers. This community focuses on bringing together people across the industry — from novice script writers to top agents and producers — so high-quality work can be easily discovered.

98. The Masters Review

This community is focused on supporting emerging writers. They publish works from writers who don’t have published novels and haven’t been featured on larger platforms yet. Be on the lookout for their annual anthology, which features the 10 best emerging writers in the country.

99. Two Drops of Ink

Two Drops of ink is a literary blog accepting submissions from writers of almost any genre. The editors also post book reviews and blog posts about writing and the publishing industry.

100. Wattpad

At Wattpad, “Stories are made social.” Hailed as the world’s largest community of writers and readers, members are free to post and read original stories and engage in conversation with each other. This is a great platform to build buzz around your writing.

Untangling your organization’s decision making

It’s the best and worst of times for decision makers. Swelling stockpiles of data, advanced analytics, and intelligent algorithms are providing organizations with powerful new inputs and methods for making all manner of decisions. Corporate leaders also are much more aware today than they were 20 years ago of the cognitive biases—anchoring, loss aversion, confirmation bias, and many more—that undermine decision making without our knowing it. Some have already created formal processes—checklists, devil’s advocates, competing analytic teams, and the like—to shake up the debate and create healthier decision-making dynamics.

Now for the bad news. In many large global companies, growing organizational complexity, anchored in strong product, functional, and regional axes, has clouded accountabilities. That means leaders are less able to delegate decisions cleanly, and the number of decision makers has risen. The reduced cost of communications brought on by the digital age has compounded matters by bringing more people into the flow via email, Slack, and internal knowledge-sharing platforms, without clarifying decision-making authority. The result is too many meetings and email threads with too little high-quality dialogue as executives ricochet between boredom and disengagement, paralysis, and anxiety (Exhibit 1). All this is a recipe for poor decisions: 72 percent of senior-executive respondents to a McKinsey survey said they thought bad strategic decisions either were about as frequent as good ones or were the prevailing norm in their organization.

Growing organizational complexity and proliferating digital communications are a recipe for poor decisions.

The ultimate solution for many organizations looking to untangle their decision making is to become flatter and more agile, with decision authority and accountability going hand in hand. High-flying technology companies such as Google and Spotify are frequently the poster children for this approach, but it has also been adapted by more traditional ones such as ING (for more, see our recent McKinsey Quarterly interview “ING’s agile transformation”). As we’ve described elsewhere, agile organization models get decision making into the right hands, are faster in reacting to (or anticipating) shifts in the business environment, and often become magnets for top talent, who prefer working at companies with fewer layers of management and greater empowerment.

As we’ve worked with organizations seeking to become more agile, we’ve found that it’s possible to accelerate the improvement of decision making through the simple steps of categorizing the type of decision that’s being made and tailoring your approach accordingly. In our work, we’ve observed four types of decisions (Exhibit 2):

The ABCDs of categorizing decisions.
  • Big-bet decisions. These infrequent and high-risk decisions have the potential to shape the future of the company.
  • Cross-cutting decisions. In these frequent and high-risk decisions, a series of small, interconnected decisions are made by different groups as part of a collaborative, end-to-end decision process.
  • Delegated decisions. These frequent and low-risk decisions are effectively handled by an individual or working team, with limited input from others.
  • Ad hoc decisions. The organization’s infrequent, low-stakes decisions are deliberately ignored in this article, in order to sharpen our focus on the other three areas, where organizational ambiguity is most likely to undermine decision-making effectiveness.

These decision categories often get overlooked, in our experience, because organizational complexity, murky accountabilities, and information overload have conspired to create messy decision-making processes in many companies. In this article, we’ll describe how to vary your decision-making methods according to the circumstances. We’ll also offer some tools that individuals can use to pinpoint problems in the moment and to take corrective action that should improve both the decision in question and, over time, the organization’s decision-making norms.

Before we begin, we should emphasize that even though the examples we describe focus on enterprise-level decisions, the application of this framework will depend on the reader’s perspective and location in the organization. For example, what might be a delegated decision for the enterprise as a whole could be a big-bet decision for an individual business unit. Regardless, any fundamental change in decision-making culture needs to involve the senior leaders in the organization or business unit. The top team will decide what decisions are big bets, where to appoint process leaders for cross-cutting decisions, and to whom to delegate. Senior executives also serve the critical functions of role-modeling a culture of collaboration and of making sure junior leaders take ownership of the delegated decisions.

Big bets

Bet-the-company decisions—from major acquisitions to game-changing capital investments—are inherently the most risky. Efforts to mitigate the impact of cognitive biases on decision making have, rightly, often focused on big bets. And that’s not the only special attention big bets need. In our experience, steps such as these are invaluable for big bets:

  • Appoint an executive sponsor. Each initiative should have a sponsor, who will work with a project lead to frame the important decisions for senior leaders to weigh in on—starting with a clear, one-sentence problem statement.
  • Break things down, and connect them up. Large, complex decisions often have multiple parts; you should explicitly break them down into bite-size chunks, with decision meetings at each stage. Big bets also frequently have interdependencies with other decisions. To avoid unintended consequences, step back to connect the dots.
  • Deploy a standard decision-making approach. The most important way to get big-bet decisions right is to have the right kind of interaction and discussion, including quality debate, competing scenarios, and devil’s advocates. Critical requirements are to create a clear agenda that focuses on debating the solution (instead of endlessly elaborating the problem), to require robust prework, and to assemble the right people, with diverse perspectives.
  • Move faster without losing commitment. Fast-but-good decision making also requires bringing the available facts to the table and committing to the outcome of the decision. Executives have to get comfortable living with imperfect data and being clear about what “good enough” looks like. Then, once a decision is made, they have to be willing to commit to it and take a gamble, even if they were opposed during the debate. Make sure, at the conclusion of every meeting, that it is clear who will communicate the decision and who owns the actions to begin carrying it out.

An example of a company that does much of this really well is a semiconductor company that believes so much in the importance of getting big bets right that it built a whole management system around decision making. The company never has more than one person accountable for decisions, and it has a standard set of facts that need to be brought into any meeting where a decision is to be made (such as a problem statement, recommendation, net present value, risks, and alternatives). If this information isn’t provided, then a discussion is not even entertained. The CEO leads by example, and to date, the company has a very good track record of investment performance and industry-changing moves.

It’s also important to develop tracking and feedback mechanisms to judge the success of decisions and, as needed, to course correct for both the decision and the decision-making process. One technique a regional energy provider uses is to create a one-page self-evaluation tool that allows each member of the team to assess how effectively decisions are being made and how well the team is adhering to its norms. Members of key decision-making bodies complete such evaluations at regular intervals (after every fifth or tenth meeting). Decision makers also agree, before leaving a meeting where a decision has been made, how they will track project success, and they set a follow-up date to review progress against expectations.

Big-bet decisions often are easy to recognize, but not always (Exhibit 3). Sometimes a series of decisions that might appear small in isolation represent a big bet when taken as a whole. A global technology company we know missed several opportunities that it could have seized through big-bet investments, because it was making technology-development decisions independently across each of its product lines, which reduced its ability to recognize far-reaching shifts in the industry. The solution can be as simple as a mechanism for periodically categorizing important decisions that are being made across the organization, looking for patterns, and then deciding whether it’s worthwhile to convene a big-bet-style process with executive sponsorship. None of this is possible, though, if companies aren’t in the habit of isolating major bets and paying them special attention.

A belated heads-up means you are not recognizing big bets.

Cross-cutting decisions

Far more frequent than big-bet decisions are cross-cutting ones—think pricing, sales, and operations planning processes or new-product launches—that demand input from a wide range of constituents. Collaborative efforts such as these are not actually single-point decisions, but instead comprise a series of decisions made over time by different groups as part of an end-to-end process. The challenge is not the decisions themselves but rather the choreography needed to bring multiple parties together to provide the right input, at the right time, without breeding bureaucracy that slows down the process and can diminish the decision quality. This is why the common advice to focus on “who has the decision” (or, “the D”) isn’t the right starting point; you should worry more about where the key points of collaboration and coordination are.

It’s easy to err by having too little or too much choreography. For an example of the former, consider the global pension fund that found itself in a major cash crunch because of uncoordinated decision making and limited transparency across its various business units. A perfect storm erupted when different business units’ decisions simultaneously increased the demand for cash while reducing its supply. In contrast, a specialty-chemicals company experienced the pain of excess choreography when it opened membership on each of its six governance committees to all senior leaders without clarifying the actual decision makers. All participants felt they had a right (and the need) to express an opinion on everything, even where they had little knowledge or expertise. The purpose of the meetings morphed into information sharing and unstructured debate, which stymied productive action (Exhibit 4).

Too many cooks get involved in the absence of processes for cross-cutting decisions.

Whichever end of the spectrum a company is on with cross-cutting decisions, the solution is likely to be similar: defining roles and decision rights along each step of the process. That’s what the specialty-chemicals company did. Similarly, the pension fund identified its CFO as the key decision maker in a host of cash-focused decisions, and then it mapped out the decision rights and steps in each of the contributing processes. For most companies seeking enhanced coordination, priorities include:

  • Map out the decision-making process, and then pressure-test it. Identify decisions that involve a cross-cutting group of leaders, and work with the stakeholders of each to agree on what the main steps in the process entail. Lay out a simple, plain-English playbook for the process to define the calendar, cadence, handoffs, and decisions. Too often, companies find themselves building complex process diagrams that are rarely read or used beyond the team that created them. Keep it simple.
  • Run water through the pipes. Then work through a set of real-life scenarios to pressure-test the system in collaboration with the people who will be running the process. We call this process “running water through the pipes,” because the first several times you do it, you will find where the “leaks” are. Then you can improve the process, train people to work within (and, when necessary, around) it, and confront, when the stakes are relatively low, leadership tensions or stresses in organizational dynamics.
  • Establish governance and decision-making bodies. Limit the number of decision-making bodies, and clarify for each its mandate, standing membership, roles (decision makers or critical “informers”), decision-making protocols, key points of collaboration, and standing agenda. Emphasize to the members that committees are not meetings but decision-making bodies, and they can make decisions outside of their standard meeting times. Encourage them to be flexible about when and where they make decisions, and to focus always on accelerating action.
  • Create shared objectives, metrics, and collaboration targets. These will help the persons involved feel responsible not just for their individual contributions in the process, but also for the process’s overall effectiveness. Team members should be encouraged to regularly seek improvements in the underlying process that is giving rise to their decisions.

Getting effective at cross-cutting decision making can be a great way to tackle other organizational problems, such as siloed working (Exhibit 5). Take, for example, a global finance company with a matrix of operations across markets and regions that struggled with cross-business-unit decision making. Product launches often cannibalized the products of other market groups. When the revenue shifts associated with one such decision caught the attention of senior management, company leaders formalized a new council for senior executives to come together and make several types of cross-cutting decisions, which yielded significant benefits.

When you are locked in silos, you are unlikely to collaborate effectively on cross-cutting decisions.

Delegated decisions

Delegated decisions are far narrower in scope than big-bet decisions or cross-cutting ones. They are frequent and relatively routine elements of day-to-day management, typically in areas such as hiring, marketing, and purchasing. The value at stake for delegated decisions is in the multiplier effect they can have because of the frequency of their occurrence across the organization. Placing the responsibility for these decisions in the hands of those closest to the work typically delivers faster, better, and more efficiently executed decisions, while also enhancing engagement and accountability at all levels of the organization.

In today’s world, there is the added complexity that many decisions (or parts of them) can be “delegated” to smart algorithms enabled by artificial intelligence. Identifying the parts of your decisions that can be entrusted to intelligent machines will speed up decisions and create greater consistency and transparency, but it requires setting clear thresholds for when those systems should escalate to a person, as well as being clear with people about how to leverage the tools effectively.

It’s essential to establish clarity around roles and responsibilities in order to craft a smooth-running system of delegated decision making (Exhibit 6). A renewable-energy company we know took this task seriously when undergoing a major reorganization that streamlined its senior management and drove decisions further down in the organization. The company developed a 30-minute “role card” conversation for each manager to have with his or her direct reports. As part of this conversation, managers explicitly laid out the decision rights and accountability metrics for each direct report. This approach allowed the company’s leaders to decentralize their decision making while also ensuring that accountability and transparency were in place. Such role clarity enables easier navigation, speeds up decision making, and makes it more customer focused. Companies may find it useful to take some of the following steps to reorganize decision-making power and establish transparency in their organization:

Drawn-out and complicated processes often mean more delegating is needed.
  • Delegate more decisions. To start delegating decisions today, make a list of the top 20 regularly occurring decisions. Take the first decision and ask three questions: (1) Is this a reversible decision? (2) Does one of my direct reports have the capability to make this decision? (3) Can I hold that person accountable for making the decision? If the answer to these questions is yes, then delegate the decision. Continue down your list of decisions until you are only making decisions for which there is one shot to get it right and you alone possess the capabilities or accountability. The role-modeling of senior leaders is invaluable, but they may be reluctant. Reassure them (and yourself) by creating transparency through good performance dashboards, scorecards, and key performance indicators (KPIs), and by linking metrics back to individual performance reviews.
  • Avoid overlap of decision rights. Doubling up decision responsibility across management levels or dimensions of the reporting matrix only leads to confusion and stalemates. Employees perform better when they have explicit authority and receive the necessary training to tackle problems on their own. Although it may feel awkward, leaders should be explicit with their teams about when decisions are being fully delegated and when the leaders want input but need to maintain final decision rights.
  • Establish a clear escalation path. Set thresholds for decisions that require approval (for example, spending above a certain amount), and lay out a specific protocol for the rare occasion when a decision must be kicked up the ladder. This helps mitigate risk and keeps things moving briskly.
  • Don’t let people abdicate. One of the key challenges in delegating decisions is actually getting people to take ownership of the decisions. People will often succumb to escalating decisions to avoid personal risk; leaders need to play a strong role in encouraging personal ownership, even (and especially) when a bad call is made.

This last point deserves elaboration: although greater efficiency comes with delegated decision making, companies can never completely eliminate mistakes, and it’s inevitable that a decision here or there will end badly. What executives must avoid in this situation is succumbing to the temptation to yank back control (Exhibit 7). One CEO at a Fortune 100 company learned this lesson the hard way. For many years, her company had worked under a decentralized decision-making framework where business-unit leaders could sign off on many large and small deals, including M&A. Financial underperformance and the looming risk of going out of business during a severe market downturn led the CEO to pull back control and centralize virtually all decision making. The result was better cost control at the expense of swift decision making. After several big M&A deals came and went because the organization was too slow to act, the CEO decided she had to decentralize decisions again. This time, she reinforced the decentralized system with greater leadership accountability and transparency.

Top-heavy processes often mean more delegating is needed.

Instead of pulling back decision power after a slipup, hold people accountable for the decision, and coach them to avoid repeating the misstep. Similarly, in all but the rarest of cases, leaders should resist weighing in on a decision kicked up to them during a logjam. From the start, senior leaders should collectively agree on escalation protocols and stick with them to create consistency throughout the organization. This means, when necessary, that leaders must vigilantly reinforce the structure by sending decisions back with clear guidance on where the leader expects the decision to be made and by whom. If signs of congestion or dysfunction appear, leaders should reexamine the decision-making structure to make sure alignment, processes, and accountability are optimally arranged.


None of this is rocket science. Indeed, the first decision-making step Peter Drucker advanced in “The effective decision,” a 1967 Harvard Business Review article, was “classifying the problem.” Yet we’re struck, again and again, by how few large organizations have simple systems in place to make sure decisions are categorized so that they can be made by the right people in the right way at the right time. Interestingly, Drucker’s classification system focused on how generic or exceptional the problem was, as opposed to questions about the decision’s magnitude, potential for delegation, or cross-cutting nature. That’s not because Drucker was blind to these issues; in other writing, he strongly advocated decentralizing and delegating decision making to the degree possible. We’d argue, though, that today’s organizational complexity and rapid-fire digital communications have created considerably more ambiguity about decision-making authority than was prevalent 50 years ago. Organizations haven’t kept up. That’s why the path to better decision making need not be long and complicated. It’s simply a matter of untangling the crossed web of accountability, one decision at a time.

By Aaron De Smet, Gerald Lackey, and Leigh M. Weiss