author, creative writing, writing

Writing: Ways to Learn the Craft

Writing is a skill, and like all skills it cane be learned and honed. Some people have a natural talent and flare for certain things, others have to try a little harder. Wherever you stand, if you love writing you should write. And if you’d like to improve and grow there are plenty of ways to do so.

1. Write
Let’s start with the simple and most effective answer. Write. You learn as you do, and you improve as you do. As with all skills, you will get better with practice and perseverance.
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2. Read Fiction
If you’re writing fiction, you’ll learn a great deal about what you like/don’t like by reading fiction. You’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. And if you’re going to tell stories, it’s important to get used to the way stories are shaped. (This can also be done by watching TV shows and films, because the way the stories unfold are skillful, suspenseful and exciting.)
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3. Read Non-Fiction
There are plenty of books out there offering tips and advice on writing. These can be a great way to discover knew practices that will improve your craft, or give you a starting point if you’re new to writing. Do be aware though, some of these books will try and sell you hard and fast rules about writing, when there’s actually a lot of freedom in writing and you should do so in a way you enjoy.
novel writing

4. Go to Events
Check for writing events that you can get to throughout the year. These may be literary festivals, workshops or author/agent talks. You’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people; writers, agents, book lovers. And in an environment like that you’ll pick up many fantastic ideas to encourage you to learn and grow and improve.
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5. Find a Critique Partner
Critique partners are the best. Find a fellow writer who you can trust. You’ll read each others work, give feedback, offer advice and share experiences. It’s the most wonderful way to learn, because it’s so interactive and personal. There are few ways more important than this.
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6. Take a Course/Study
First, let me make a very important point; you do not need to study/gain a qualification in writing to be a writer. However, if you enjoy studying and would like to be given a specific focus and direction, then a course could be great for you. Evening classes, university, even online courses. Whatever works best for you, if you think you’ll gain something from studying, go for it.
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7. Edit
I wanted to tack this on to the end. You will learn loads by writing, but you will learn as much, if not more, by editing. When you edit your work you’re forced to look at it with a critical eye and actively work on improving it.
let's start fresh!


What do you do to learn/improve your craft and your skills as a writer?
I LOVE to learn so it’d be great to hear your advice.
Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

Let’s connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

56 thoughts on “Writing: Ways to Learn the Craft”

  1. Absolutely agree with everything, I also get great tips from blogs like yours, listening to podcast and watching vloggers.
    I pick up tips from watching movies and tv shows too.
    But I think editing and critique partners are where I learn the most.
    😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. While all of the methods you listed are very useful, I think there’s one more: listening to/talking with fellow writers. Seeing different methods and thinking why they could (not) work for you is something I find enlightening and can lead to trying some new approach.
    Thanks for sharing all your tips!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading is one of the best ways to learn.I don’t mean self help books, I mean fiction novels.

    If you are just starting out find that one book you’ve read over and over. Read it again, but this time study it. How did the author entertain you? Why do you keep coming back to it? How did they write certain scenes?

    Your favorite books are your best tools to becoming a writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t know if you’ve addressed this in one of your posts, but I was wondering:

    What would you suggest when it comes to turning a short story into a long story?

    In my case, I’m turning one of my short stories into a novel. So far, I’m making progress; I plan on writing 5 pages a day and, the first day, I’ve met my quota. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something I was missing — something I could be doing better.

    Thank you. Have a good day. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi lovely, thank you for your question! I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a short story writer. I wrote my first one very recently for a uni assignment, and found it tough. I’m so in awe of short story writers, and am practicing more myself now. However, I don’t have any advice on anything short story related. Fab question though, and sounds like a lot of fun (thought quite a challenge!) Maybe write a list of plot points and consider how you could expand on them? Any subplots that made add to the story? Good luck, do come back and let us know how you get on ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve learned so much from writing by just editing my own work, and editing others as well! It’s an interesting point you have about craft books selling us on hard or fast rules, because rules are definitely voice suckers. I heard on a podcast an agent said they can tell if a work has been picked apart by critique partners and a writer who really wants to follow the rules β€”Β it has no voice. I found that really interesting because I think it’s easy to doubt our writing and try to follow the rules to make it better. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment! I have edited work so much to fit in with rules before that the voice washed away completely. I wrote a blog about it a while back. It’s so valid! And interesting to know that agents will pick up on it too. Thanks for sharing ❀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Everybody says it but “On Writing” by Stephen King is a must-read. He doesn’t pretend to tell people how to write, rather honestly speaks about the craft, and things people should do/take seriously etc…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic advice! πŸ˜€ Editing has been such a huge help improving my own writing (it helps that I deliberately took a two month-long gap before visiting the story again with fresh eyes) while branching out into writing advice & short stories helped improve my creative range hugely. Thanks for such great tips! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda, thanks for commenting and welcome to the writing community! I would say become actively involved in talking to writers online, either through blogs like this or on social media. You can set up an account just for your writing so you don’t have to share personal details if you’re not comfortable to do so. You’ll make connections with certain writers, perhaps because you’re in a similar genre or are going through the same things. And you can start offering to swap chapters to give each other feedback. That’s how I found mine, and they are wonderful ❀ Good luck! xx

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  7. Lately, I’ve been taking tennis lessons. My instructor is originally from Vietnam and was raised Buddhist. My most difficult challenge is to move my attention away from evaluating my shots immediately and attend internally to my position, aim, recovery, preparation etc. I feel there’s an analog to choices about what to attend to in the process of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think you are “write on” with your advice. I talk to children’s elementary classes (and read my illustrated picture book to them) and they all want to know the best way to learn how to write. I tell them the six rules for writing: “Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read.” Their teachers love it and the kids’ mouths are wide open.
    I teach creative writing classes, so I’m daily writing new stories from the prompts I give out to my students. A great way to stay creative and practice the art of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. These are great tips! Before I wrote for a living, I never knew I had a knack for writing. Sure, we write a lot of legal analyses in law school but it was not until I became a government writer that I realized that I have a thing for it. All I did was to start writing.

    I guess in writing and in life, you just have to have a leap of faith and do that first step in everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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