"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Continuing Education" For Writers?

In today's economic climate, many of us recognize the need to further our education for career advancement, and to increase both our options and our "bottom" lines.
Even President Obama has deemed it a worthy cause by making college scholarship dollars available to moms, as an incentive to learn more so they can earn more!

But, oddly enough, rarely is the same regard given to creative careers.
I'm baffled by the fact that not enough writers feel the need to take classes, learn from mentors, or make ongoing efforts to sharpen their skills.

Is it "writer's ego"?

I say this not to be cruel, but to be candid.
As a former senior editor of a regional publication, I can't even count the number of articles and essays I would come across with improper grammar, incorrect spelling, and issues with subject/verb agreement.

In fact, once when I identified this developmental need to a fellow writer and Blogger, (to try to help), it was met with denial and harsh words on her part. Ouch!

But, as I see it, anytime we make our words available for "public consumption" we owe it to our audiences to put our best foot forward, to understand their needs, and to respect their time.

Wouldn't you agree?

Sure, nobody's perfect--myself included!

So, here's the $64,000 dollar question: How do you keep your skills sharp in order to keep your readers engaged, entertained and enlightened?
And...Can a writer ever be so advanced that he/she outgrows the need for learning more or being mentored?

Special note: If you'd like to hone your craft, earn more, and take your writing career to the next level, classes offered by coffeehouseforwriters.com start September 6th! They're presented online and can be taken in the convenience of your own home. With corporate downsizing and the advent of the Internet, writing is becoming increasingly competitive. It's no longer okay to be just "okay".
So, I'll be at the Coffeehouse sharing tips and techniques for today's writer.
I Hope you'll join me for a "stimulating experience." Register early. :-)

Image Credit: Simon Howden


  1. Yes, I agree! Why wouldn't we, as writers, want to put our best foot forward? Our work is often seen by many, and may stay in print indefinitely. I think we need to continually sharpen and refresh our skills by reading books on the craft, feedback and interaction with other writers, taking courses, attending conferences, etc.

    I gained so much from writing courses taken years ago - am still implementing things taught, and am always on the lookout for things to help me improve.

    I'm with you!
    Have a great week,

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 17, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Thanks for your thoughts, Karen. You're proof positive that even good writers benefit from taking advantage of the array of resources available to make us even better!

    As always, glad you stopped by.:-)

  3. I agree. There is ALWAYS more to learn! Even multi-published authors would probably agree they can still learn something new.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 18, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Good point. Thanks for sharing it here, Julie.

  5. I attend conferences and belong to several writers groups where I get some free programming and mentorship. I also judge in writing contests and find that amazingly beneficial with my own work. The kinds of things I think are beautiful when I write them look hackneyed when I see them in someone else's writing, proving that my mind doesn't really see my own flaws and that I need to be ever more diligent and creative in my editing. I also hang around other published authors, because they too are out in those classes and writing programs.

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 19, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Bravo, move to the head of the class! Seems that you're definitely on the right track with the steps you've shared today.

    I greatly appreciate your time and thoughts, B.A..

  7. Your article kind of touched on something that has been bothering me for some time. I feel my skills as a writer are actually weaker now than they had been in the past. I find myself constantly questioning grammar and proper word usage. These things used to be second nature to me. I am not one to pass the blame. Still, I cannot help but think that reading so many blogs that use poor grammar has worn off on me a little bit. You get used to seeing things done wrong. I think that bleeds into your own work to some extent.

    I haven't taken any formal classes since college. That was a couple decades ago. Right now the only education I get is when I take the time to look up the proper spelling or the proper use of a word.

  8. Kathy,

    Thanks for your thoughts here today.
    Actually your concerns are quite common. Sometimes when we are not required to use certain skills for awhile we become less adept in those related areas---writing is no different. Think of the expression, "use it or lose it"! :-)

    May I make a suggestion?
    Online, affordable classes are available for you starting September 6th. One in mind is called, "BACK TO BASICS BOOT CAMP FOR WRITERS!"

    See www.coffeehouseforwriters.com

    I think you'll find something to reinforce what you know, and also new things to take you to the next level!

    Much luck...

  9. Hi Jennifer:

    This is an issue that I really struggle with as a writer. When you say continuing education, do you mean brushing up on grammar and writing skills or do you mean taking classes that focus on different genres? I noticed that I tend to take classes that focus on diversifying my writing, and then I realize that adding on to my writing arsenal doesn't align with my career goals/life priorities. Would continuing education mean taking courses or getting mentoring in areas like marketing, grammar, etc.--even though I have already taken classes and bought books on those subjects--to perfect a niche rather than to diversify into other writing arenas? Thnaks!

  10. Hi Mrs. Brooks,

    It's a pleasure to have you here today!
    For me, "continuing education" would be in the form of classes or independent studies. It would include grammar and genre focus. It would also encompass getting assistance through a mentor. It's all about growth and getting better, no matter what your stage or level.

    Thanks for stopping by.