Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nine tips for writing students




It's that time of year. Time for me to get back into the classroom for a while. When I'm writing, I wish I was teaching. When I was teaching, I wish I was writing. It's getting the balance right that's the tough part.


If you're new to writing, or taking classes to refine your skills, consider these tips.

  1. The teacher does not know everything - but hear him/her out before you decide.
  2. Do the homework if you can. The more you write ~ The better you get. The more you write ~ The easier it gets. There's no way around it.
  3. There is no 'secret'. So don't sit around waiting for the instructor to let 'it' slip. Contribute. Paticipate. Process. Practise.
  4. Share your writing with others in class if you can. They know as much as the teacher, even if they don't know that they know it yet. Stay in touch. Throughout the course, and after. With each other, and the instructor.
  5. Don't take too many courses at once. Give yourself time to absorb what you are learning. And to practise it.
  6. Don't read too many writing books at once.
  7. Try and balance the amount of time you learn and read with how much time you put in writing.
  8. Most teachers are eager for feedback. Let them know what was most and least useful to you in the class. It will help them do even better next time.
  9. Two books that teach as well as ilustrate lots of good writing:
    Imaginative Writing by Janet Burroway, and Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost. And of course there's my book, 101 - and more - Writing Exercises to Get You Started & Keep You Going.

This term I am teaching Getting Started, Keeping Going, Writing and Selling Short & Long Nonfiction, and Fundraising in General (and Grantwriting in Particular). For particulars... check my website.

Maybe I'll see you in class.

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