Hello, Katy Lee here. Last week I talked about my role as a judge in writing contests. I spoke about the vast differences between entries. Some ready for an editor’s eyes, others still in their baby stage. I encouraged writers to use contests as a learning tool to get out there and perfect their craft. This week, I want to take it one step further.
Being a teacher, I have a love for education—the more the better. No experience is useless. I believe we are always capable at any age to learn and should learn. Every opportunity has something to offer us if we keep our minds open and are willing.
This goes for writing as well. Many, myself included, have an understanding of the basics of spelling, style, syntax, and grammar usage, but still struggle with integrating these components into a clear, concise, and coherent written piece. I’ve taken courses and workshops; I’ve read numerous how-to books, and I wish I had the easy answer for you, but alas, I do not.
As with any skill, it takes practice, practice, and more practice.
Of course, for some, writing comes easy, but that doesn’t give those of us who struggle with it a reason to quit. My daughter may cry that she is horrible at math, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to do it. It just means she needs a little more instruction and practice than others.
Seeing as this is a blog for writers, I’m sure most of you are traveling on the road to publication with us. You probably have a dozen manuscripts under your bed, each with a whole slew of problems you can’t count on your ten fingers…and toes. Is it your spelling or grammar that needs help? Or maybe your dialogue is flat or even nonexistent? Or, maybe if you are like me, you have too many “ands and buts.” Whatever your case may be, pick one thing you want to work on. Don’t try to tackle all the problems at once. Look for a book or course that could help you. You’ll need to set aside time to learn, and then, time to put what you learn into practice…and more practice. But like I said, no experience is useless. It can only make you a better writer.
The Unlocked Secret: Positive learning experiences like writing workshops and instructional books are significant factors to perfecting your craft, but ultimately, becoming a better writer is a matter of learning what better writing is, and then practicing until you find your own prose. Read a lot, but write a whole lot more.
Question: What will be your first item to tackle? If you’re a published author, what was the hardest thing for you to learn?