Back To School

Ongoing education is kind of a big deal, because it keeps your brain sharp and it also helps make you competitive in the terrible modern job market. It’s also, unfortunately, something that I have to do myself.

Honestly, I have an easier time with this in fields not related to writing. If I want to learn coding, I can just find a fun, easy, free course online somewhere (thank you, Khan Academy). I take the little course, get a little dab of knowledge, and then I can move on to the next topic. Easy.

But I’m a writer, which means I have to keep developing my craft, and that’s not something I can do in a bubble. Luckily, there are various tiers of knowledge available to me.


Reading a blog is generally free. Sometimes there’s a Patreon connected or something like that, so you can pay a little to support the blogger, but in general, reading a blog post is free. I think it’s important to subscribe to a range, but also to remember that time is limited and the more time you spend reading a bunch of posts, the less time there is to write or just to watch Netflix. Make sure the blogs are worth the while. My favorites include Helping Writers Become Authors and Kristen Lamb’s site. The former covers more about writing, the latter more about marketing, and both are extremely encouraging and helpful.


I like collecting books on writing because a) it makes me feel more professional, and b) it’s really useful to have a library of tips and tricks and prompts and such. Also they’re not usually super pricey, even if you buy a hard copy. Which, let’s face it, I usually do because it just feels better. A few I’ve found to be valuable reads: Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb, and Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland.


These are a bit more expensive than books, and they’ve got pros and cons. Pro is that there are assignments and other writers to interact with so it’s more hands-on. Con is that it takes more time than a book, generally speaking. Available online and in-person, depending on where you look and what you need. I’ve taken a few. Important thing is to find one that covers a topic you really want to cover, and to be willing and able to put in the time needed to finish the work on time.


I’ve never been to any writer’s conferences because I can’t afford them, but I’m saving my pennies. There are a couple different kinds of conferences for writers. One is more of a retreat, with a few classes available, and a beautiful setting with lots of time to really settle in and write. Another is more about learning and networking, with chances to meet agents and learn about various parts of the writing process.

There are lots of ways to pursue knowledge after school. These are just a few. Any particular places anyone has gotten knowledge from, just for the sake of learning something new?


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