As writers we want to produce the very best story for our readers. Although, we would like to spend all our time writing, there are many other demands on our time. Family commitments, work, chores and more, in fact, just life! To improve our writing skill, however, we need to invest in it.
There are multiple ways in which to do this. Of course, some require extended time commitments, while others are easier to slot into our time constraints.
Here are some options for you to consider:
Furthering your writing education encompasses broad and diverse options. We can find many free on-line or paid resources, such as on YouTube, Masterclasses or Skillshare. There will also be courses, whether in-person or on-line, on a day or evening class basis with a university or college course. These can be a large time and financial investment, so think carefully before committing to one. Decide what you want from the specific course before applying. Will it do what you want it to do?
Conferences and Events
You can find literary organizations that hold writing conferences throughout the year, these range from free to paid. Attending a session with an expert, who really focuses on their topic, is a great way to garner information and insight for your own writing. It is important to remember that attending a session on another aspect of writing or style may also enlighten you to a new way to write too. Be open to the many topics to get the full benefit of a conference.
There is a plethora of books on writing, and you can either borrow from your local library or buy. Depending on if you want a general writing guide, or a specific one, you should be able to find one that matches your needs. For example, if you want to explore a new genre and discover what the reader expectations are for it, there are many genre specific books that will help. There are also famous author biographies and their own writing books detailing their processes, which can aid you.
Writing Apps or Services
There are many to choose from, including ProWritingAid, Scrivener, or Novlr, to name a few. It is important to thoroughly research these before purchasing, so it is in-line with what you need and can apply easily to how you work. Some have free trial periods so you can test them out. Every writer’s approach and process is different, and a writing tool is only as good as its ability to align with your style. If you detail every plot arc, character description, then these apps are a great way to keep you on track. However, for a free flow writer they may end up making you frustrated with all the inputting of the minutiae of your story.
This option does involve a financial commitment, as well as a time commitment. Hiring a writing coach can make a tremendous difference to your writing. It can take the form of informal mentors to biweekly counseling sessions. Decide which one suits your personality and learning preference. Research them thoroughly by reading reviews and visiting their website and social media. Ensure you are confident with their ability before signing up.
Writer in Residence
Many libraries have professional authors, who spend a period of time holding presentations, but also give free advice, whether one-on-one or via email. As a free resource this is a great option for any writer. You can submit a portion of your current work to them for a review, ask advice on aspects of the publishing world or any other writing related topic. (I always submit to our local WIR every year.)
You can find retreats held by literary organizations in most areas. They can be structured or informal. Most will entail a financial commitment and travel. If you belong to a writing group, why not organize your own, with maybe a special guest or two to give a presentation. Or decide on what is the most common element everyone wants to learn, discuss or practice is and build the retreat around that.
A local writing group is a real bonus in helping you improve your writing. You receive feedback on your writing, discuss the multitudinous of writing topics, as well as receive encouragement and support.
No matter which option you choose, investing in your writing always improves your skill.