From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, August 18, 2014

4 Ways Writers Can Go "Back To School"

This time of year always gets me thinking about that wonderful line from You've Got Mail when they're talking about school supplies and "bouquets of sharpened pencils." It's been a few years since I've been a registered student, but I do get nostalgic for some of those school days. School is awesome.

Even if we're not technically students at an official school, this time of year can inspire us to further our education. I personally feel like the only "hopeless" person is the person who feels they have nothing left to learn. We are always learning, always improving. So without official school, what can we writers do to keep finding teachers, and keep learning?

1. Read great writing books. There are so many options out there. Just head to the Writing and Publishing section of your local Barnes and Noble, and you'll see. A classic, and my personal favorite, is Stephen King's On Writing. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell was also incredibly helpful.

2. Listen to TED Talks. These really are one of the best ways to casually continue one's education. There are thousands of TED talks uploaded, each one inspiration and informative, even (especially) ones that seemingly have nothing to do with writing. They are fun to listen to while at work or in the car. Here are a couple of my favorites:


3. Watch educational videos on YouTube. In the same vein as TED Talks, YouTube provides an endless conglomeration of incredible educational videos on basically any topic. Whether you are doing research on a particular topic for a novel or looking to broaden your education in general, YouTube is a great place to start. My favorite channels for this are CrashCourse by the indefatigable John and Hank Green, and VSauce.

4. Add more blogs to your subscription. Whatever blog subscription you use, find a couple more blogs that do great posts and add them to your feed. That way you are constantly learning from active participants in your field. See the spotlight section below and in other posts for some recommendations.

That's all for today, but I'm excited to see what ideas you guys have. What resources have helped you continue your writerly education?

Write on!

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SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Chattahoochee ReviewThe Chattahoochee Review seeks submissions for its Fall/Winter 2014 double issue with a special focus on “Skin.” Literal and figurative explorations of the theme welcome. Due Sep. 1
  • The Conium ReviewThe Conium Review Online Compendium seeks flash fiction. Work must be unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are allowed. No reading fee. Due Oct. 1
  • The Minetta ReviewThe Minetta Review is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University. If you are a poet, proser, prose-poet, painter, sculptor, photographer, digital illustrator—otherwise an experimenter of combining word and visual art—the Minetta Review staff encourages you to submit your work. Due Nov. 15
  • Writers Digest-Your Story 61: Write the opening sentence (just one, of 25 words or fewer) to a story based on the photo to the left. You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story. Due Oct. 13
SPOTLIGHTS:

12 comments:

  1. There are a lot of great sites and blogs listed at the IWSG site and one can learn a ton clicking on just a couple of them each day.

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    1. Yes!! IWSG is such a great resource. Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. A very helpful post with good information. Thanks.

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    1. Aww, thanks for the kind words :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I like the idea of writers going back to school. And it should of course include a trip to the office supply store. Just walking into one makes me happy.

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    1. Indeed :D Again, its that bouquets of sharpened pencils kind of feeling :)

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  4. Great post, Sarah. I love being in a class - too much time teaching my own? - so I attend writer's conferences whenever I can. Its like drinking water from a fire hydrant but I return inspired and invigorated! I also love to do research and go places and talk to people whenever I can. These are great mini-vacations, and often lead to other insights!

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    1. How could I have neglected to mention conferences! Those really are fire hydrant refreshment, and pack such a wonderful punch!

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  5. There are a lot of courses on creative writing online, some at universities. I don't think anyone should stop learning, unless they choose to. Life long learner here. hehehe

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. Definitely! Learning should continue throughout our lives :)

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  6. I've never thought of the Ted Talks thing. Great idea! I usually hit some writing craft books and I love educational shows, but I'm going to hit the Ted Talks soon! Thanks for the sage advice.
    Raquel Byrnes

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    1. TED talks really are my favorite. They are so wonderful!

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