Monday 24 August 2009

Fun Monday

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 The RNA also have a New Writers' Scheme, which allows unpublished members of the association to send in a manuscript, either full or partial, once a year (by 31st August) receiving a detailed report in return.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.


Ladybird World Mother said...

Going to get one of those books you wrote about... want to get on with writing but need to know what is in store... have shed envy. Wish I had one!

Flowerpot said...

I think the Stephen King book is good - so is Elizabeth Berg's book Escaping Into the Open. I would love a shed - my office is half of the bedroom!

Hootin Anni said...

I think that would be good advice for any aspiring author..."get it down, THEN get it right".

Great post.
Mine's now published and ready for viewing if you'd like to stop by. Have a great day.

Queenie said...

I liked Stephen King's book very much too, although I don't enjoy his novels. My favourite how-to book is Sol Stein's Solutions for Writers.

Carol said...

I read the first bit of your post and got palpitations!! I can't believe I'm going to be starting Uni in October....just thinking about it makes my stomach feel a bit funny...

C x

Swampy said...

First of all, I just "bookmarked" you. Thanks to Faye and Mon Funday I have a new inspiration for this week. I've used your post and made my list. Great "stuff" here.
"Just getting it down makes it right." Of course, the fine tuning is necessary, but at least you've started.

claire p said...

sounds like your doing all the right things x

ChrisB said...

I love your shed, it must be wonderful to have somewhere peaceful to let the creative juices flow.

Janis said...

Welcome to Fun Monday. To be able to pursue you passion is the best feeling in the world. Keep doing what your doing. Thanks for sharing Deb. BTW I am hosting FM next week, come on over this wed and sign up,we would love to have you. :~)

Sayre said...

I think Stephen King's book "On Writing" is one of the best out there. I've read it several times and find something new each time.

You are much more organized about pursuing your passion than I am!

Michelle said...

May well take up the recommendation of Stephen King's book. I had a discussion about how much I would not like to be a celebrity, and how much more I would like to be Stephen King! (Basically well known, admired and successful author who no-one knows what they look like!!)

MommyWizdom said...

Hmn, I'll have to check out that Stephen King book - I had no idea it was out there!

How great that you get so many opportunities to practice what you love!

Have a great week!


Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

lwm - they're all good books.

I love my shed, so does the rest of the family as I leave them in peace in the house when I'm in it.

flowerpot - I shall have to look up the book by Elizabeth Berg as I haven't come across that one yet.

hootin' annie - thanks. I shall pop over to your blog now.

Queenie - I agree with you. Another good book, thanks.

carol - so exciting for you. I wish I was going too.

swampy - thanks very much for bookmarking me.

claire p - I hope so.

chris b - also somewhere to keep all my bits and pieces that would clutter up the rest of the house.

janis - thanks. I'll try to remember to do so. Am also making the most of my last week off with the youngsters before returning to work, so can't be certain.

sayre - it's a great book, I've read it several times too.

michelle - I think you're probably right.

mommy wizdom - I am lucky, and it helps that writing is something I can do from home.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Great list, Debs.

My weakness is no. 1 - it's an addiction and I spend so much time reading craft books I often don't have time to write.

Unknown said...

Funny that you brought up "On Writing" by Stephen King, because that's what I'm reading right now. I have laughed out loud several times already and I'm only about 40 pages in!

Faye said...

Debs, thanks so much for joining this week's Fun Monday meme. Of all the different memes out there this one offers the greatest challenge for the wanna be writer, I feel. There's 20-25 people who participate and we take turns hosting and deciding what the topic will be. I look at it as getting a writing prompt each week. The challenge is to successfully work the topic--which always comes from left field-- around the stories you want to tell on your blog anyway. There's also the discipline of knowing that you signed up to get you posting instead of procrastinating!

Enjoy the precious time you have left before heading back to the real world of work.

Amanda said...

Great list, Debs - I do most of those, except I sometimes try to write when everything is a little hectic - I must learn to take myself away to the Summer House and pop a 'do not disturb' sign on the door! I have the Stephen King book too - it's really good, isn't it?

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

suzanne - my problem is remembering what I've read in the how to books.

chad - he's so clever that you don't feel you're reading a how to book.

faye - I enjoyed taking part and visiting new blogs that I wouldn't have found.

amanda - I haven't been in the shed nearly as much as I would have liked, but that's the fun of having a family, I suppose.

Anna Scott Graham said...

Bird By Bird by Anna Lamott is a good writing book, but I also really appreciate her style.

as for TTW, definitely read the book first. :))) so far it's quite good!

Jill said...

sounds like you have it all down! I just wish I had enough creativity to get through say a kids book!

Living Life said...

Happy FM to you Deb! Sounds like you are a lifelong learner alright! I love reading self-improvement books and spiritual books. Thanks for playing.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

anna - I was reading somewhere else today that Bird by Bird is an excellent book. I'll have to look it up.

lil mouse - I'm not so sure how well my creative juices are flowing at the moment with my editing, it's going far slower than I would like it to.

the church lady - I'm definately a lifelong learner. Thanks for the visit.