Friday, April 1, 2016

Questions from Readers

Luann Prater asks, “What writing classes, seminars, or training courses do you recommend?”

That’s a good question, and I see no easy, simple answer. What kind of learner are you? If you’re visual (as I am), read as many books on the craft as you can and absorb their voice and writing style.

Read widely within your field and just as widely outside your field. I read at least as many novels as I do nonfiction books, and I continue to learn.

As you read or listen to digital recordings, ask silent questions. None of us speaks infallibly, so question anything that puzzles you.

Read writers blogs and subscribe to those whose work resonates with you. Just giving five minutes of attention to a blog can result in learning.

Consider podcasts and online courses, which are especially good for people who need deadlines.

Join a local writers group where they edit each other. You learn to edit other writers as part of your own education. (You may need to visit several groups before you find one that meets your needs.)

Certainly attend as many writers conferences as you can. Remind yourself that you’re always learning. In January of 2016, I was one of four faculty members on a writers cruise. Each of us taught a total of three hours during the eight-day trip. I attended every class where the others taught, even though I was the most experienced. And I picked up a few tips. I’m open to learn wherever I am.

If you attend conferences, get acquainted with other conferees. Pitch your ideas to editors and agents. You might also ask them for suggestions on how to improve.

In brief, figure out what works best for you and do more of it. I’m not an aural learner, and I have to put a great deal of effort in listening to writing instructions. So I focus on my way to get the strongest results.


  1. Excellent suggestions, Cec. I appreciate that you acknowledge that we all have different learning styles. I still go over notes I took at writers conferences years ago, and they continue to help me!

  2. Thank you for getting it. Too many try to lay down rules for everyone.
    My advise to you: Be the beat Jeanette you can be and figure out what works best for her


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