Tag Archives: Writing

Lifelong Learning

IMG_5109No one needs to learn how to write. By the time most of us get out of high school, we’ve written multiple “themes” and even some research papers. We’ve learned the basics of sentence structure, grammar, and how to divide our writing into paragraphs.

Having those basic skills under our belt, we’re able to spend our free time for the rest of our lives writing stories and poetry that we can share with our friends and family. That life hobby brings satisfaction and fulfillment.

It’s possible to go further with our hobby. There’s a big wide world out there of ways to get better at writing. Marry your love of writing with your love of learning, and you will never run out of something to do.

I’ve gotten hooked on learning about writing. Some days, I’m overwhelmed with how much is available. On the Internet, I have my regulars. I read Dan Blank, Joseph Michael, Jerry Jenkins, and Jane Friedman. Their blogs, websites, and classes are outstanding. Google any one of them.

Locally, I network with writers through the Village Writing School. They offer workshops, speakers, open mic sessions. One of the best ever literary libraries in the state resides at the Village Writing School, providing reading material on every conceivable aspect of writing.

Personally, I am inspired by my friends who are avid writers: Alison Taylor-Brown, Debbie Quigley-Smith, Nancy Harris, Jeanie Nance, Carol Martindale, Alan Lampe, Dan Baxter, Valerie F. 

I don’t put to use nearly all the lessons I listen to. Much of what I hear at workshops is not directly relevant to anything I’m writing. But, all that information accrues. Soaks into my skin. It enriches me and broadens my general knowledge. 

I have attended two recent workshops that stretched me. One was with the author of a book called Be the Gateway–Dan Blank. He actually Skyped in to talk with us about how to connect with readers. Imagine a New York author/guru chatting with little ole me and a few of my friends. The other opportunity was with an editor from New York, Denise Roy, who read my query letter and line-edited it. She took the time to fix my words! Unbelievable. The cost was truly minimal. 

I don’t plan to make a splash in New York with my writing. I don’t plan to sell 10,000 books. I’ll be lucky to sell 100. Nevertheless, I love the fact that I have the opportunity to continue learning about this my chosen field. I love that we live in an age where we can live in the splendid Natural State and still have access to the top teachers in the country.

I don’t need to tell you the value of lifelong learning. You already know. Just take a moment to ponder what a marvelous time we live in and how lucky we are to be writing today.

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Every Five Years

A long time ago, I learned something significant about myself. I’m not proud of it; I’m not sorry about it. It’s just how I am. My life naturally divides itself into 5-year increments. I discovered this in terms of the jobs I held. I was uber-enthusiastic about my work for about five years. After that, I got bored, restless, and needed a change. Once I realized that, I was able to do a better job of planning my life.

Now that I’m retired, I see that the same thing holds true. The first five years after I retired, I played. A three-year motor home vacation followed by the fun of buying a house and furnishing it and getting to know my new community. The next five years, I became a caregiver for my mother then for my husband. It’s been almost six years since my husband died. I’ve spent these past five years grieving and exploring my identity as a single person who is aging.

It would be a brave, bold statement to say I now know who I am and what I want. But, I’m saying it. To all the world. At least, to you. The commitment I made to myself this year is to be a writer for the next five years. That doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. It means that I am going to give it my all for five years. Be the best I can be. No wimping out.

Why do you care? Well, you might not. But, if I tell you, it helps me firm up my commitment. Like going to Weight Watchers or AA.

This morning, I read that Aristotle said, “The most characteristically human activity is planning your life.” Kenneth Atchity of A Writer’s Time added, “Those who do are the productive people; those who don’t disappear under the surface without leaving a bubble behind to brighten the world.”

I’m certain that you are brightening the world in your own way. We’d all like you to tell us how you do that. Please.

By the way, do come back here after a few days and read all the comments. They are the best part of this blog.

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