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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Your Daily Writing Bread: Writer's Leap 366 (Lesson 1)

It seems fitting to start my new series, Writer's Leap 366, with one of the two most important things I've learned about writing in the past four years. I'll unveil the second in lesson 366. Yes, you really have to wait until October 31, 2012 to find out what it is. How's that for a cliffhanging hook (we'll learn more about hooks in later lessons)?

Lesson 1: Learn something new about writing every day.

A writer needs the knowledge of writing like they need bread or water or shelter. If you neglect the daily feeding of your writing brain, or if you think you've already gorged yourself and mastered all there is to know about writing, you'll starve yourself of essential writing nutrients. And like the body feeds off it's own fat and muscle when it's starving, the old writing muscles--the result of things you learned in the past--will be consumed until there is nothing left when you are in the midst of a learning famine.

Maybe the something new you learn is a review of something old. That's okay, too. Reinforcement is a powerful learning tool and a necessity in the writer's diet.

How do I learn something new about writing every day?

1. Read this blog over the next 366 days. Some of it will be reinforcement--pumping up the old writing muscles, but I hope you'll find a few new bread crumbs to nibble on while you're here.

2. The Internet is a great source. Find reputable blogs by agents, authors, or publishers, and devour them often.

3. Check out books on writing at your local library, and take a few bites of their contents each day. Okay, not real bites or the librarian will look at you funny and fine you when you return the book.

4. Go to writers' workshops or conferences, take notes, then digest the material a little at a time.

5. Join a writers' group. If you're in the Middle Tennessee area, Living Writers Collective is a great option. It's free, and it's run by yours truly and an awesome committee of dedicated members. And we love to eat--I mean really eat. Click on the link above to learn more about us.

6. And if you still hunger for more, consider enrolling in a writing education program. You can find most any to fit your needs, and most offer learn-at-home options--from a beginner course all the way to the MFA low-residency programs.

Visit me tomorrow for your next Writer's Leap 366 lesson.


  1. Karen Phillips said...

    Beautifully baked, er, I mean written! Seriously, though, Karen, I agree that writing is nourishing. Actually, I believe that words and stories are spiritual gifts.

    Good on you, Karen, for starting this blog!


  2. Jen said...

    Are you gonna do a lesson on metaphors? Seriously that is great advice and well-presented. Thanks!

  3. Karen said...

    Funny, Jen. I guess I have to now, don't I? Thanks, Karen P. and Jen.

  4. warrenjc said...

    Hi Karen,
    Long time no visit. Great idea you have here. 366 ideas. Sounds like a book to me.

    This is what I have been up to for quite a spell now. Just finished my book around a month ago and just got the mss back from the editor. I am in the process of fixing the boo-boos and addresses the very helpful comments.

    I am excited about getting it done. I've been work on it for about a year and four months. It is the quickest book I have written.

    I look forward to checking the loft out in the coming months, given the time writing my own project. God bless you Karen and the best of luck to you and your writing career.