I admit it. I’m a learning junkie. I love to find out more about so many things it’s hard to narrow my focus. As someone living with a ravenous curiosity, I make it my mission to learn something, anything every day.
In New Year’s Resolutions for Writers, one of the goals for the year is to learn more about the craft of writing. There are lots of ways to do this from quick and free to long-term and costly. You hear me say this a lot, but what you choose depends on your goals. The investment of time and money is dictated by whether you want to make writing a career, if writing is part of growing your business, or if you’re simply passionate about your hobby. If you’re not sure how to go about goal setting, check out this post on exploring and setting writing goals.
What do you want to learn?
First, figure out what you want to learn more about. We’ll start with broad categories and narrow down to topics. I obviously haven’t included everything there is to learn about writing, but give you a framework for exploring on your own.
- Voice – find and develop your unique voice that readers will cling to book after book
- Style – combined with voice, learn to develop a unique way you deliver the message
- Incorporating back story – learn when and how much to use
- Using researched materials – find how to use your research to create a richer story
- Brainstorming – explore the different methods to find the best route for your book
- Plot – learn tricks to make your story compelling from first word to last
- Dialog – learn to write realistic conversations that engage and move the story forward
- Character development – make your characters come to life
- Story arc – learn to weave your story through a structure to support your plot
- Setting – learn how to describe the setting, no, transport your readers into the setting
- Blog structure – learn to how to construct a blog post to keep readers engaged
- Find your target audience – learn what to say to your ideal reader
- Tone – discover how to deliver your message to resonate with your target audience
- Writing great headlines – explore the tricks of the trade to compel readers to read
Grammar and Punctuation
Need I say more?
Of course, the list goes on.
Where to Learn the Craft of Writing
Now that you know what you want to learn, here are some of the endless resources for learning, practicing, and dare I say, perfecting your craft.
These websites compile lists of writing conferences around the nation and world. In addition to these, explore your particular genre for additional opportunities. Google “conferences for romance writers” or other specific writing areas of your choice.
- For children’s writers http://www.scbwi.org/events-home/
If you need to get away from your harried existence in order to concentrate on writing or focus best when there are no distractions, check out these writing retreats.
Master of Fine Arts
You don’t need to have an MFA to be a great writer. But, if you REALLY want an intensive experience, it may be the thing for you. Before you do, read this.
Local writing workshops
If you’d rather keep it local, there are lots of places to start.
- Community colleges
- Arts organizations
- Writers groups
- Meetup.com – search for writing workshops and classes in your area
- Eventbrite.com – ditto for Eventbrite
If you’re local to Delaware, here are some of my writing workshops.
Check out the library, local bookstore, or Amazon for these perennial bestsellers on the craft of writing:
- How to Write a Novel, by Nathan Bransford
- Breaking Ground on Your Memoir, by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers
- On Writing, by Stephen King
- Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Craft of Research, by Wayne C. Book and Gregory G. Colomb
- Write a Book, Grow Your Business, that’s mine!
Here’s a list of some free and paid online writing courses. Look for reviews and feedback from other participants to get a feel for what you will learn and how students react to the instructor.
- Udemy offers thousands of courses on various subjects
- Online courses from colleges and universities http://study.com/articles/10_Universities_Offering_Free_Writing_Courses_Online.html
If you still can’t find a venue which matches your style or needs or want a direct route to perfecting your book, look to an editor or book coach to guide you through each step and answer all your questions as you have them. Look for someone who has expertise in your area of writing and delivers help in the way you want to receive it.
Does this feel overwhelming?
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, set writing goals for what you want to learn, how you want to learn it, when you want to receive the information, and prioritize the courses which will benefit your writing the most.
If you need a place to start, I’ve got just the thing. And, the best thing…it’s FREE!
Try the 14-Day Writing Challenge to expand your mind and discover writing from all angles. Explore different writing styles in your own time, in your own way. There are no tests and you don’t need to share your writing…unless that drives you.
I invite you to the relaunched Facebook “Challenge” group to interact with other writers. That’s optional, too. BUT, in my experience, writers learn faster, write more, and are more successful when they surround themselves with other writers.
Are you in?
Now it’s your turn. What do you want to learn?