Monday, 24 August 2009
Faye at Summit Musings is holding a Fun Monday, about Back to School and asks "Do you also have that "Back to School" feeling even though you're all grown up? Do you still think of yourself as a student? A lifelong learner?"
She also asks, "How do you enjoy learning? Taking a class? Online study? "How to" books or DVDs? Tutorials on computer or TV? One on one with instructor or coach? Practice on your own?"
I'm constantly trying to learn as much as I can about the craft that interests me most, writing. It's all very well writing books, rewriting and editing them, but it's vital, for me at least, to have help or at least an indication of how best to do this.
So, my way of improving as much as I can has been to do several things.
1. Reading 'How To' Books
My favourites are: Stephen King's, On Writing - so cleverly written that it doesn't feel like a How To book at all; Wannabe A Writer, by Jane Wenham-Jones is an amusing, but informative book; Carol Blake's, From Pitch To Publication, telling you everything you need to know to get published. I also have a well-thumbed copy of Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, but there are many more excellent books, such as, Writing Romantic Fiction by Marina Oliver.
2. Attending Courses/Conferences
I was lucky to be able to attend the Writers' Holiday at Caerleon this year, as you can see from this post it was invaluable, and I'm still trying to soak in all the information and advice I received from my excellent tutors.
Romantic Novelists Association - For the past three years I've been attending the well organized and informative, yet fun, conferences. These last from Friday to Sunday and are in a different location each year. Next year it will be from 9th to 11th July at the University of Greenwich. The RNA also have a New Writers' Scheme, which allows unpublished members of the association to send in a manuscript, either full or partial, once a year (by 31st August) receiving a detailed report in return.
3. Online Forums/Blogs
I've picked up many writing tips from online friends, and endless support from writers forums I'm lucky enough to belong to, such as Novel Racers, and several private forums, where work is posted and critiques and advice recieved back. These help me focus as well as develop my writing.
4. Somewhere Peaceful To Write
I have the shed, which is where I prefer to write, but to be honest, I can write anywhere, as long as I have either a pen and notepad or my laptop. The main thing for me, is simply to get it down, then (try to) get it right.