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Always

I’m a firm believer that you should never stop learning. On my last day walking this earth, I intend to learn something about this world, or the world I’m about to enter, or myself.

I wince when I hear people say they don’t need to know this or that. Why won’t you want to know something about everything?

Since this is a blog for writers and we focus mainly on the craft of writing and publishing industry and elements related to both, I’ll speak to the authors reading this. Never stop studying the craft. Never turn a deaf ear to information that relates to your small business. Never stop learning about humanity and the world, because they feed your creative well.

No moment in time has offered us so many venues in which we can expand our minds. We have the ability to fly to the other side of the world in a day and experience cultures our forefathers never heard of. We can open a window to the worldwide web and learn about every uncover stone in history, and steps that will change our world today, tomorrow, in years to come.

We are friends to people all over the globe and share our daily lives, hopes and dreams, having never met them face to face.

Since the majority of information shared is through written word, we have a responsibility to humanity to never stop educating ourselves and share what we’ve learned, be it through poetry, screenplays, non-fiction or fiction, but the majority of us, on government income tables, qualify as starving artist. So how can we continue to learn, to improve ourselves as artists?

There are so many avenues that cost little or nothing. Here are ten ways.

  • Blogs like the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, where experienced writers who published, both traditionally and independently, and are willing to share their journeys and help guide others.
  • Many authors have writer related archives on their websites where they share articles on craft.
  • Local or National writing organizations. There is nothing like being in a room with other writers, even if the group is small.
  • On-line writers groups. Check RWA for info on on-line chapters.
  • Craft books. Buy used if on a budget, or trade off with other writers.
  • Industry related magazines. Check for on-line magazines also. Many are free.
  • Conferences or workshops. Many conferences are breaking down their venues and offering the purchased of one day, two day or entire conference packages, making attending more affordable to some.
  • Conference workshop recordings. If you can’t attend the event, this is the next best thing.
  • On-line classes. I, and several other Ruby Sisters, love Margie Lawson classes (margielawson.com). Intense, but worth the time and money! And I’ve taken Master classes from James Patterson and Arron Sorken through masterclass.com. I review classes constantly. Michael Hauge also offers a lot of information on his website, storymastery.com.
  • Reading. You can learn about the craft just by studying your favorite authors’ works. Whether you write every day or not,  reading, learning, every day should be a priority.

 

There are more venues to help you on your journey and I know some of the sisters will jump in and offer them up, but if something has helped you, please share in the comments below.

 

Autumn Jordon is the award-winning author of romantic suspense-mystery-thrillers such as her Golden Heart Finalist and Golden Leaf winner His Witness To Evil. After her family business was comprised by The Russian Mafia and the FBI investigated, she grabbed her note pad and pen and went on to interview the agents. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and be privy to upcoming releases, sales, and events. Also, you’ll receive free reads and be entered into her monthly contest for great prizes.

 

 

 

14 responses to “Always”

  1. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Watching TV shows and films, then dissecting how they put their stories together.

    Every spring and fall, 4 writer-friends and I hold a writing retreat–a weekend away where we write and brainstorm. It’s one of our traditions to watch a film and critique the plot / storytelling. I find something new to think about each time.

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    • Excellent suggestion! Breaking down the turning points of a movie will help teach plot structure.

      Have you ever rewritten or discussed a change to the ending of a movie?

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      • Elizabeth Langston says:

        So the supplier of dvds is a huge Rufus Sewell fan. We’re not allowed to criticize his movies in any way 🙂

        However, 2 movies caused a lot of discussion about how unexpected they were. THE PROPOSAL surprised us all by how well it was able to turn an unsympathetic heroine into someone we were rooting for. (And, of course, Ryan Reynolds.)

        The other one was MAGIC MIKE. We went into that one expecting… I don’t really know what I expected but the film had a serious, substantial plot line that we all wished we could’ve ended more hopefully.

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        • I love the proposal. And you’re so right. It’s an excellent example of making an unlikeable character loveable.

          As far as Magic Mike. I think that story line needed a lot more work. It could’ve been great, outside the club.

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  2. jbrayweber says:

    I love learning new things. Experiencing something I’ve never done before isn’t just fun, it can help convey emotions or accuracy on paper, too. I’m going to be doing indoor skydiving soon. I’m terrified of heights so this will be a great alternative to jumping out of a plane. While I don’t have a scene currently that has characters skydiving, should I have a character falling from great heights I hope to be able to give the reader a good sense of how that feels through the character’s eyes because I have experienced it.

    Also, I advocate judging in writing contests. You can learn so much about what not to do when you are constructive criticizing others’ work.

    Great blog, Autumn!

    Jenn!

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    • Judging contests. Yes! I learned so much over the years by reading others works. Even now, critiquing helps me see the weaknesses in my own writing. Great suggestion!

      And I love that you’re opening your yourself to a new experience. It will make your character’s feeling passionate.

      I attend the PWA and was lucky enough to win the a place on a SWAT team and act out a hostage scenario. Every time I write a standoff fight, I recall how felt going into that house, gun in hand, knowing I’d have to play kill someone or be killed. Thrilling. Chilling.

      So good for you, Jenn.

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  3. I agree with everything said above – so many good suggestion in the post and comments so far. The more we experience, the more we grow as writers. 🙂

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  4. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    I love to learn and can only go for so long before I start searching for my next learning experience. Participating in the WWF has been quite the learning curve for me and not something I would have considered or even known about without the encouragement of a couple of writer friends.

    While doing this, I’ve also started a class in “Effective Teacher Training” in order to become a substitute teacher. One of the requirements of the class is to go and observe teachers (as well as students) in various grade levels and classroom settings. Apparently, the stars aligned as my WIP might be termed a YA and this has given me ample opportunity to see and interact with “young folks”in their environment.

    Thanks, AJ for all the great ideas in this post!
    Cynhia aka “Cinnabaar”

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  5. I live in a college town, and the university has a huge number of activities open to the general public, many of them at little or no cost. I’ve attended everything from a lecture on female Irish pirates to an art installation using only bicycle parts. And since most of these events are given by masters in their fields, I’ve met a good number of sources that I tap for book research projects. Such richness in my own backyard!!!

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  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    So many great suggestions here! I think the thing I most appreciate about my liberal arts education is that it helped me learn to learn. I teach a writing class here and there, but I’ve never stopped taking them, and I’m forever watching TV shows and movies about all kinds of subjects. I’ve lost count of the number of craft books on my keeper shelves. Right now I’m learning about woodworking because my husband is making me a new coffee table.

    Everywhere you turn, there’s something to learn. Readers can learn almost anything simply by cracking a book.

    But I have to echo previous suggestions about the value of contest judging, particularly the unpublished division. There’s nothing like having to constructively supply feedback to give your craft knowledge a thorough shakedown!

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