From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Learn from Award-Winning and Best-selling Authors Every Day

Isn't modern technology miraculous? We hear stories of friends going to a lecture of a New York Times bestselling author, or a friend running into a Pulitzer winner on the Subway. Imagine what we could learn if we were friends with these people, or could hear them speak!

Hey guess what. You can listen to writers like that every day, and its easy.

There are so many resources out there for listening and learning from amazing writers. Why should you spend time with these resources? Because it helps us other writers engage in the conversation. Maybe a throw away comment from one of these people will help you understand the publishing industry in a way you hadn't before. Maybe you'll hear a solution to a plot problem you're having. When you're doing dishes or driving in the car, these are some of the most productive things you can be listening to, in my opinion. This is as much for myself as anyone else.

So how do you listen to great writers every day? Well I can give you a start.

University reading series. Almost every university has a weekly or monthly reading series, where writers from all over come to present their work to students. Often these may not be writers you've heard of, but they have incredibly great talent, and great stories and advice to share. My university for example does a weekly reading series, and anybody can watch the recordings of those here.

The National Book Festival. When I lived out in DC, the National Book Festival was one of the greatest parts. And even though I haven't been able to go to it since, I've been able to watch any lecture from the festival that I'm interested in because they're all on YouTube. Seriously. You can watch Billy Collins or Lois Lowry or John Green or Steven Millhauser or Walter Dean Myers or so so many more. You can find the playlist for the 2014 festival here.

TED Talks. I've mentioned TED Talks several times on this blog and I'll continue doing it. It is such a great series of thought-provoking talks on subjects that probably haven't even registered before. And what could be better for a writer? Even though most of these talks aren't specifically about writing, or even given by novelists, many speakers are non-fiction writers talking about their ideas. And that can be a great thing for any writer.

The Writing Show and Other Podcasts.  There are a large number of great podcasts with great guest writers, but one of the my favorites is The Writing Show with Paula B. It was canceled almost three years ago, but the archive of episodes is a treasure trove of knowledge.

Because we're all continually educating ourselves as writers, right?

Write on!

For more frequent updates, writing tips, and funnies, follow on FacebookTwitterGoogle+
YouTubePinterestTumblrGoodReads, and/or Instagram. Or if you enjoyed this post, sign up to get blog posts delivered to your inbox. 


  1. I didn't know universities had readings. Good to know!

  2. Thanks, Sarah! This is such valuable info. You're so right--we learn from authors every day.

  3. Thanks, Sarah! This is such valuable info. You're so right--we learn from authors every day.

  4. I like learning from other people. I know I learn so much from my fellow writers/ bloggers. Having more resources at my disposal to do that, would be wonderful. Thank you for sharing the info.

  5. We learn by reading good writing, really good writing.

  6. I find one of the best things I can do is read their books. Then study their books. Then re-write their books a page at a time, or compare yours side-by-side.

    Then study how they got where they are, and work as hard as they worked to get there.

    I've seen a few TED series, but need to watch more. You may have inspired me to put more effort here, as my enthusiasm waned over the summer and needs a firm kick in the arse.

    - Eric


I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

To have weekly posts delivered to your inbox, just sign up here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...