Or are you taking a continuing education class? Going to writing seminars at conventions?
What are you doing this year to improve your craft?
And yes, this is at least partially an introduction to a plug . . .
On Thursday afternoon I fly down to Los Angeles for the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference. This is an intensive three-day conference specifically oriented toward novelists. The schedule of speakers and topics is fantastic, and once again they were gracious enough to invite lil’ ol’ me!
I’ll be running two sessions this weekend.
First, on Friday morning, an intensive three-hour “boot camp”: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels. We’ll cover as much as we can in that time, focusing on what makes the SF and fantasy genres a unique writing challenge. And for what it’s worth I can answer that in one word: Worldbuilding.
Then on Saturday morning, I bring my Living Dialogue workshop to LA for the first time. This one is for authors of any genre, and we get into some real kung-fu dialog skills, inspired by a post first offered here.
And you know what else I’m going to be doing this weekend?
I’m going to be attending other seminars.
One of the great benefits to being invited to speak at conferences is that it gets you into the conference itself, so when I’m done being a font of wisdom, I can go drink from some other fonts. There is no point at which you’re done learning to write. This is not something you can perfect—I don’t care who you are. And the more opportunities you give yourself to learn, the better you’ll be.
Okay, so maybe it’s not in the budget to, with a couple day’s notice from me, register for this event and book a flight to LA and a hotel room, and meals, and so on. Okay, then what else are you going to do?
When I teach Living Dialog at Bellevue College it costs less than a hundred bucks (I think . . . don’t quote me on that, the college sets the price, not me) and no one so far has driven more than fifty miles or so to attend, so I’m not asking you to book a trip from wherever you are to Seattle for that, though I certainly wouldn’t stop you!
So what’s going on where you live? There are at least two great writer’s conferences in the Seattle area every year, and a couple of SF, fantasy, comic book, video game, and anime conventions that have writing programs. Every community in America has a community college, right?
And then, of course, there’s the internet.
Once again thanks to the good people at Writer’s Digest I’m bringing my Worldbuilding class online. This is a slightly abridged version of the eight-week course I’m teaching now at Bellevue College, but we’ll do some of the same writing assignments, and cover an awful lot of the same ground, and you’ll be able to ask questions, have your text reviewed . . . I wouldn’t have signed up if I didn’t think it was worth it.
Still out of your budget?
Do you have a library? Can you get your hands on a book? Maybe a book about writing? How about any book at all? You can and should be reading constantly—every author who’s ever lived can be a mentor.
There’s wisdom out there for the taking—go get it!