Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Top Tips for Writers to Continue Learning the Craft

Being a writer is all about continued learning. Even when you become a published author, you still need to keep learning and develop your writing craft. Doctors go to seminars. Teachers attend in-service workshops. Mechanics, managers, and other professions take continued education classes. Because continuing your education is how you stay current in your field. Continuing to learn about writing shows that you are a professional writer, not an amateur.
There are many ways to continue your writing education. You can join organizations, talk to other authors, read and study books, attend writing workshops, retreats, and conferences, sign up for webinars, and join writing courses.

Get Involved in a Writing Community

The first tip to continue learning the writing craft is to stay connected with other writers. You can do that in person or online. There are several professional organizations you can join that are dedicated to teaching the writing craft to its members. If you write for children, then the premium writers’ organization to join is SCBWI, also known as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They have chapters across the globe and have two major conferences each year: the summer conference is LA and the winter conference in NY. If you write romance, then consider joining RWA, the Romance Writers Association. There are also organizations for science fiction and fantasy writers, mystery writers, and a lot more.

Aside from talking to other authors inside of organizations, you can also simply befriend other writers you meet in real life or inside of Facebook groups, on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Making friends with other writers comes in handy when you’re looking for a critique partner (or group), a beta reader, or when you need a pep talk for that 50th rejection you just got. We all learn differently and at different rates. We can all help each other grow when we have continued conversations with each other.

Read and Study Books

There are two ways to read and study books.

  1. Read books about the writing craft to learn new skills.

  2. Read similar books to yours to learn how other successful authors did it.

Craft books for writers are a great tool to help you learn how to write better. There are books to help with the first five pages, how to revise chapters, how to break down a sentence, self-editing, even books to help with productivity and staying motivated.

The second way to read and study books is to read similar books to the ones you’re writing. When you do this with an eye for craft, from the standpoint of studying the books, you’ll pick up on lots of little craft nuances that each writer used to create their works of art. One way you can do this is to find a passage and use it as a mentor text. Then “copy” the passage as your own by changing out all the nouns, adjectives, and verbs for your own. You’ll feel the rhythm and syntax of their sentence length, word choice, and so much more.

Workshops, Conferences, and Retreats

Attending writing workshops, conferences, and retreats, is a favorite among writers. Workshops can be an hour or a full day. They tend to be small events taught by local authors. Conferences are usually much larger and more comprehensive. They typically contain a full lineup of several different workshops over the course of a few days. They may or may not include appearances by editors and agents. Retreats tend to be more intimate and span 5-14 days in length with a portion of the time during the event dedicated to writing. No matter what you choose, this is a great way to learn more about your writing.

Webinars and Online Writing Courses

Lastly, you can learn the writing craft online. You can sign up for webinars and learn all kinds of different skills. This is basically a digital version of a workshop. You can also purchase a writing course to help you advance your writing career. Online writing courses are a mix between a live writing workshop and a book. It’s a great way to go deep on any subject. I’ve seen writing courses about character development, plotting your novel, story types, marketing, and so much more.

These are some of my favorite ways to develop my writing: talking to authors inside communities, studying craft books and published books from fellow authors, attending retreats, and signing up for online classes. In fact, I even offer each of these myself.

  1. Join the free Writers Who Run Facebook group.

  2. Buy my book, 101 Fun Creative Writing Exercises: Become a Better Writer in 14 Minutes a Day.

  3. Sign up for the waitlist for the Writers Who Run Retreat.

  4. Check out my course, Plot Like a Novelist


What’s your favorite way to continue learning the writing craft?
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