When I was teen writer, I was on top of things. I had quite strong opinions on what was right, what was wrong, what was accurate, and what was completely laughable. I knew how to write.
Then I grew up.
One of the most important steps of this “growing up” was realizing that nope, I don’t know all there is about writing. The next step in “growing up” was to do something about lack of knowledge. The result of that? Just like I went through a few physical growth-spurts in my growing-up years, I’ve taken a growth-spurt in my writing. My writing has strengthened, my grammar has become more sensible (less “Amanda-isms” slip into my drafts), my plots are more intricate, and my publications more professional.
But I’m not done learning yet.
Sure, it’s a great thing to look back and see how God has allowed me to grow as a writer; to see
how He has laid down a path for my writing education, but that shouldn’t stop me from continuing along that path. Just this week, I learned about various story structures from The Story Cure (see my review here). I learned that “duh, I don’t have to expect my first draft will always be horrible (hopefully)” from K.M. Weiland. Sometimes I need to hear things five times before it sticks with me. And for those reasons, I never stop trying to learn.
Over the past few years, I’ve varied in how I learn about the writing craft. Here are a few of my favorites that I regularly learn from:
- Books on Writing. There are some great ones out there, but there are also some pretty bad ones with either questionable content or lousy style (I’m sorry, but if it’s a book on the writing craft, it should be well-written). Some that I have read which are more or less clean and give general starting-information are The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, Plot, The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, and Self-Editing on a Penny.
- Articles on Writing. I most often do this as I’m researching the answers to a writing question. I have gotten a lot of help from Helping Writers Become Authors.
- Making Notes. If it’s a non-fiction book on the writing craft, copy quotes that are helpful, or jot down ideas to try. You can also keep notes of fiction books you’re enjoying; keep a journal of what you like (why did you like it?) and what doesn’t work (why didn’t it?).
- Writing Friends. In any part of life, there are usually three types of friendship: those “younger” than you that you can help, those who are the same level as you that you can learn with, and those who are more advanced than you from whom you can learn. This applies in the writing world as well.
- Constructive, Critical Feedback. This is probably what has helped me learn the most. It’s not always fun or easy to get a manuscript back filled with notes, but I have learned a ton from it.
Now, I’d like to hear from you!!!
What is the latest lesson you’ve learned about writing? Or was it about publishing?
What is the best book on writing you’ve read?
What website(s) do you stop at most often?
How do you actively pursue learning writing?