How Do I Learn to Write?

By Kathy NickersonMay 9th, 2018work, writingNo Comments

Welcome to The Wednesday Writer edition of my blog. I’ll attempt to answer some of the questions readers ask about the writing process in general and writing for publication, specifically. 

I might own a pair of scissors, and I might like to snip away at things, but that does not make me a hairstylist. Every career or pursuit requires training, study, and practice. This is a phenomenal era in which to find those things as a writer. Here are a few simple ways:

Read Magazines – Your local library probably has copies of things like The Writer, Writers Digest, or one of the many other magazines for writers. If you subscribe, you can clip and keep articles that pertain to your genre. Of course, you can get digital versions, as well.

Read Books – Reading for pleasure helps develop your own voice and style. You might start out copying your favorite author, but you will grow. Reading helps tune your ear for writing. Also, buy good books on the craft of writing. Anything by Writers Digest Books will be an excellent resource for your personal writing library. Consider it investing in your education and in the career of another writer.

Watch Movies – Careful, this can be a cop-out to avoid writing. However, movies can also help you learn to write good dialogue and can teach you story structure.

Read Blogs – The number of good blogs for writers is almost endless. Every year, Writers Digest lists the Top One-Hundred. The archives on some of these sites are a treasury. Plus you can start to develop an online circle of relationships as you comment and ask questions.

Join a Writing Group – When I couldn’t find one in our rural area, I created one. It didn’t take much work to discover a dozen or so other people with an interest in writing. In our few years together, we have seen some wonderful growth. One of our members went from never finishing a project to being published in one magazine so frequently they asked him to work as an editor. Now, we submit to him! Check local libraries, college campuses, social media sites, or writing magazines and reference books for groups.

Take a Course – This doesn’t have to be a college class. Lots of online classes are excellent and affordable. I’ve taken several.

Attend a Writers Conference – I do this every year. Writing is a solitary experience much of the time. Meeting real editors, agents, and other authors is worth the price of admission. Plus, you will learn more than your brain can hold.

This list is not exhaustive, of course. It is only a small beginning, but I expect it shall lead to great things. Please let me know when it does so for you. Happy writing.

 

Resources: (Just a few of my favorites)

Magazines: The Writer, Writers Digest

Books: 

Just Write, (plus, everything else by James Scott Bell)

The Irresistible Novel, by Jeff Gerke

Deer on a Bicycle, by Patrick F. McManus

Writers Market

Christian Writers Market

Blogs

Books&Such Literary Agency

Steve Laube Literary Agency

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Sally Apokedak, Agent

Courses

Anything at Udemy.com by Sally Apokedak

Anything at Udemy.com by Jeff Gerke

The Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild

Guideposts “How to Tell a Story”

Conferences 

Heart of America Christian Writers Conference, Kansas City, usually in October

Omaha Wordsowers, usually in April

Called to Write, Pittsburg, KS, usually in the spring

Realm Makers, this year in St. Louis, but it travels every year.

 

 

 

 

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