I may not know everything there is to know about writing or the business of writing (yet), but I’m not afraid to learn. I’m treating my writing career like a business, and if I want to be successful, I need to build up that business through improving my skills and knowledge of the business. One venue for learning is going back to school and getting an MFA degree. I’ve thought about it, but have decided to go the home-study route for a couple of reasons. First of all, because I already have a Bachelors degree (in business; very helpful, if you’re in the market to start your own business or want to understand the business) and a Masters (in Management of Technology, not so helpful). Secondly, because when I investigated masters degree writing programs, they were (sadly) very expensive and not particularly focused on the genres I’m interested in.
So with the decision made to home school myself, I’ve invested in a good-sized library of books on writing by some of the best teachers (and authors) in the business. I’ve also attended writers conferences (by writers, for writers), and conventions (by fans, for fans and sometimes writers too), and several seminars (by published / successful writers for aspiring writers). I’ve even attended of writers ‘workshops’ at conventions, where authors submit a writing sample in advance and a pro and your fellow group members give feedback. Each experience has been a learning experience. But books and conferences will only take me so far.
This weekend, I’m taking the writers workshop concept a step further. The Cascade Writers Workshop is two-and-a-half days of real-time writing and critiquing in a group setting, led by professional authors in my genre. I’m thinking that this is the next level in terms of learning for me. I was required to submit a sample of my writing before I was even allowed to register (I submitted the opening scenes of FATE). For the workshop itself, I submitted the first three chapters of GLAMOUR, and in turn was required to read and write critiques of the writing submitted by other members of my writing group. In addition to being nervous about what the other writers will be saying about my writing, I’m hoping my critiques will be more helpful than hurtful; and hope the criticism leveled against me will be in a similar vein. I expect to learn a lot and hope to take my writing level up a couple of notches. As a writer, I believe that investing in improving my craft is a critical to the future success of my business.