Learning the Craft of Writing

As mentioned last entry, I’ve been plotting my next Mystery novel and editing my current SF novel this week.  Nothing too unusual in that.  This weekend I’m attending the Bob Mayer Writer’s Workshop here in Boise.  Looking forward to meeting Bob and all my fellow students.  Part of being a writer is spending some time learning your craft.

Too many people think they can write because they wrote in school.  They feel that there is nothing else needed to write novels.  Wrong.  Writing fiction is a constant learning curve that you you never stop climbing.  Not only do you have to be familiar with the language, but you have to be familiar with the craft of fiction writing.  That is not something that most people can just do intuitively.  No matter how well read you are.  You have to study books on writing and take a few classes here and there to learn the ropes.

Sometimes, when you are devoting your entire weekend to a writing class or seminar, it can feel like your time would be better spent actually writing.  But always remember that just writing is not enough to get better at your craft.  You have to spend time learning it from those who have gone before you.  It’s never a waste of your time to learn from those who are better than you.  In fact, you can learn even more, from mentoring someone who is not to your same skill level.

I’ve learned more from reading other people’s writing over the years, than I have ever learned from reading distinguished works from established authors.  If you ever get the chance to judge a writing contest or to participate in a writing critique group, take it.  You will be amazed at what you learn and it will make you a better writer.

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