Tuesday, March 14, 2017

To Be A Better Writer...Keep Learning (Jill)

When I was in college, I loved the learning experience. Not so much the general education classes that everyone took, but the core classes I needed to obtain my degree. Those days are long gone. But if you don't learn, your ability grows stagnant, or worse, deteriorates. So what are the options available for adults who can't afford to go back to class? I'm glad you asked.

1) Webinars: Now before some of you howl in protest, let me explain. Yes, some of the free webinars offered don't amount to much more than a sales pitch. But some of them offer nuggets of helpful wisdom. As long as you expect there to be a sales pitch at the end, it's not such a blow when the host asks the instructor, "What great deal are you offering us today?"
The most informative (but not free) webinar I attended was WordPress at 10,000 Feet. It was invaluable and worth every penny, especially since I tried to set up a website on my own before and failed spectacularly.  Some free helpful webinars I've taken have been on topics like "Heart" Sell vs. Hard Sell, Marketing Strategies for Pinterest, Double Your Social Media Traffic, and Why You Suck at E-mail (& How to Fix It).

2) Books on the craft: If your time isn't flexible and your employer frowns on you using company time to attend webinars, books on the writing craft might be a better fit. There are many good ones out there covering a variety of topics (Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eager, Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King--which many authors swear by, although I didn't care for it). I try to read a couple a year, mixed in with all my fiction choices. Pick up a few or request them from your local library.

3) Conferences: This is the most expensive option out there, even if it's just a one-day workshop. If you can handle the finances for one or two a year, then definitely spend the money. Find a conference covering interesting topics with agents, editors, and publishers who are interested in your genre. Then start saving. I've attended one-day workshops and three-day conferences, and it's always been worth it. This year, I'm saving my pennies for Realm Makers in Reno, Nevada, the perfect choice for all speculative writers (plus the people there are truly kind, cool, and talented individuals).

So keep writing, reading, and listening. And never stop learning.


  1. Great post, Jill! You're so right that it's important to keep learning, and the good/bad news is that a writer can never possibly know it all :)

  2. Thanks! As someone who gets bored easily, not knowing it all is reassuring. Plus there's the silver lining--we'll always be striving, getting better at the craft. :-)


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