Day 2: Learning to write

Authorblogchallenge Day 2: Learning to write

What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve your craft? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?

I read this then read it again.

I did a one day screen writing workshop at City Lit. Does that count? I was a creative writing tutor at university even though I hadn’t written anything at that stage. I’m guessing that that doesn’t count for much either.

Let’s face fact when it comes to writing many of us are self-taught and that’s ok. I’m not too concerned with my skill as a writer so much as I am the content of what I write. So I don’t look to learn about how to write. I respect those that invest in their skill but for me and lifestyle writing I haven’t seen the course that would teach me how. I’ve started to see blogging courses yes but I’m not sure I would do any of them as our  individual voices are still quite embryonic.

I think courses are really dependent on your interests and areas you want to learn more about. I’m content taking a degree in English literature and turning it on its head by ignoring everything I learned and doing the opposite. I drop my grammar, use slang and there is no symbolism in anything that I write. “Where is the subtext!” my tutors would cry if they read it. It has taken me over 10 years to let go of the idea of how writing should be.

I guess if you are reporting on reality which is what lifestyle writing is then it is harder to teach as it is yet to be acknowledged as a genre. It still sits either in humour, chick lit, biography or worse sociology. Few dare to venture into that section of the book shop.

I do remember at university being asked to present on a book by Doris Lessing. It was a huge book, I think The Golden Notebook, and I really didn’t have time to read it AND prepare a presentation for the class. So I sped read until one particular bit jumped out at me. She or the protagonist said something about not reading any book because you are forced to or before you are ready to. And that’s the biggest lesson I learned To write something that people will read but don’t be upset if they aren’t ready for what you write. It still needs to be out there for those that are ready.  And thus I don’t take courses in writing because it is the done thing. I’ve always feared that a qualification in writing would paralyse my writing style. Instead I blog regularly and hone my voice and how I use it.

To writing!

© Chelsea Black


3 thoughts on “Day 2: Learning to write”

  1. Hi Celsea, I have to agree…to many courses would feel stifling in the end and I think the key is to know exactly where your learning gaps are before you go booking on course. To often, I meet people on the ‘wrong’ course/workshop.

    Keep putting the writing out there…it’s all good

    Lisa x

    1. I agree. I think if I saw a course that suited my niche or filled a particular gap I would happily go away but the screen writing day taught me not to spend my money carelessly

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