Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writing: The Path of Learning

This is in response the Author Blog Challenge #2 writing prompt.


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?

Other than always being fascinated with writing stories and poems ever since I was a child, the only actual training I had for writing was during my university education when I studied English for my BA. Although I have always wanted to take workshops to help hone my craft, I have always been short on one thing that was necessary for taking the courses, and that one thing was money to pay for them.

I have joined a writing group here in my area where we are helping each other with monthly critiques. And I have started writing short stories to help me get the practice I need while I am simultaneously writing my lengthier novels. I also read advice on writing in magazines and blogs regularly.

I have never taught a writing class or workshop, but, as a mom who actively works with her children to make sure that they practice writing and learn to love the craft, I used to run weekly "clubs" in my own home for my children and their friends. They would write short stories or poems, based on prompts I would give them. Then the stories or poems would be read aloud by me, kept completely anonymous during the reading, and everyone would vote on their favorite story or poem (not being allowed to vote for their own). The winner of the evenings writing usually won a chocolate or similar treat.

Surprisingly, my children and their friends really loved coming to our writing clubs. And I think it did have some benefit as I have one daughter who has already finished her first novel and is beginning her second one, one daughter who has written over 600 poems this year alone, and another daughter who is writing several short stories. (I am still working with my younger children although we don't hold the writing club anymore. I am considering starting it up again for them and their friends though.)

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