Day 2 Author Blog Challenge.
The prompt for today was about classes, programs or workshops I might’ve taken to hone my craft. As the publishing and writing industry is inherently expensive for anything of that sort I have yet to attend one. (First one ever in Aug! Sa-weet) But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done everything in my power to improve my craft. I’ve simply done it on next to 0$. So if you’re in the same boat as me and need some ideas on what to do without injuring your wallet these ideas are especially for you. For those of you who may not be in the same boat as me, try these out anyways! 😀 I really tried to grab some ideas that are beyond the realm of everything else I’ve read about improving your writing. There’s so many great ideas out there, but these are some things that truly helped me, and I have yet to read about them anywhere else.
1. Ask other writers what their favourite books about improving writing are. Then read them all.
I belong to a number of writer/author groups on facebook and other social sites. (yay free!) So when I posed this question in one of those groups I was amazed at the response I got. There are so many good books about writing out there. So many of the recommendations from others I hadn’t even heard of, let alone touched. (See one of my favourite improving writing books here.) The only thing about reading books on writing? Be aware that there will be contradictions. It’s best to be aware of all points of view out there and then choose what works for you and feels coherent with your writing style.
2. Make the conscious choice to read what you want to write.
The key word here is conscious. I’m sure we’ve all heard the advice read the type of book you want to write. The problem is that there are hundreds upon THOUSANDS of excellent books that we all could read, but we have to decide now to leave those books out of our chosen genres on the shelf. I know! Leave a highly recommended book by a great friend unread on my shelf? Impossible! But no really, consciously decide to read great books in the genre and with the target audience that you yourself are going to write about. *If it’s a really great read in a genre outside my writing realm, I put it on the back of my toilet and only read it in the bathroom. That’s how I compensate. 😀
And the biggest part that has helped me hone my craft (right from that very first story about a princess and a unicorn) and that I think is the best way to improve?
3. Be able to graciously accept a critique
Don’t underestimate the power of an unencumbered mind coming new to a fresh page of your work. Often I’ve found they have thoughts, or conceptions I hadn’t even considered and it’s a great eye opener. I got over the initial misgivings I had about getting critiques when a good English teacher slashed apart poems I brought in for him to see. I should point out that I had him look them over of my own accord. I went in on my own during a lunch hour. So from a very early age I knew I wanted to improve. I knew that if I wanted my words to say exactly what I wanted them to I needed help from those who not only had more knowledge than me but more experience. Understand that they wish to help you. Take everything anyone says about your work with a grain of salt, but don’t internalize or take it personally. Accept what others have to say about your work calmly. They will appreciate you more and be more willing to crit for you again if you are gracious about what they say.