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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Craft

Wouldn’t it be great if writing was like driver’s education? Pass one class and you’re set for life, with only minimal maintenance work required to be a competent driver. Well, maybe it would be great. I’m kind of glad writing is a continually evolving skill. All the writers I know constantly sharpen those skills with classes, books, critique groups, editors…the possibilities are as limitless as our imaginations. In the last six months I’ve attended a great conference, taken an online class, and corresponded probably thousands of times with my critique group. I’ve consulted my trusty reference books and even skimmed a few new ones. And every time I pay attention to the craft, I end up revitalized and inspired, which of course makes me write even more!

For those that have been able to ‘sharpen the saw’, what’s worked for you? What gave you an ‘a-ha!’ moment that changed your writing? Mine was the 2006 Surrey International Writers' Conference. The whole dang thing was amazing, but most especially the workshops, blue pencil session and general stalking of Jenny Crusie. :-)

If you haven’t thought about the craft of writing lately, I encourage you to take a class, go to a conference, read a great book on the subject…just remember to hone your writing tools with whatever means you have available. If you do, you’ll be in the driver’s seat.


Nicole Maggi said...

Great post, Julie! Having been at the 2006 Surrey Conference with you, I know what you mean. It seemed to be the place where everything came together for me.
Of course, that's not to say that there are times when everything falls apart again! (Sorta going through that now, very frustrating.) But the knowledge IS there. And classes, conferences and workshops are some of the best places to bring it back to the surface. Keep the well stocked, so to speak!

Ginger Calem said...

Julie, I'm like you, I'm glad we can't just pass a test and be done with it. I admit I may have days where I think that for a moment or two, but generally, I love the idea that we can continue to learn indefinitely. The concept of limitless growth and potential to evolve inspires me.

What works for me is a combination of attending conferences (yes--Surrey 2006 was magical!!), online workshops (Check out WriterU), books on craft, websites (like ours) discussing the world of writing, entering contests, nanowrimo...ok, you get the idea. I try to tap into everything to helps me to learn and grow and especially to fuel the flame of my motivation.

I hope I never fool myself into believing I've learned it all. What a flat and disappointing outlook with nothing more to discover. *shudder*