ABC – Day 3 – Classes & Learning

Learning about writing

Learning about writing

What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?

When I was a teenager, I loved going to English as my teacher was big on having us work on different sorts of writing. I also went to a lot of different workshops and met some fantastic authors including John Marsden.

At university, I studied journalism and also volunteered for a few years at the Melbourne Writers Festival. As a volunteer, I got to meet some amazing authors including Isabel Allende.

Life got in the way for a long time, and the biggest thing I did was to practice my writing with blogging and writing articles.

Fast forward to 2011 and I was told about the 12×12 and Chapter Book challenges. These were/are both fantastic resources for kidlit authors as you can connect with so many other authors, get great information to help hone your skills, share your knowledge, and get that writing done.

I have also taken part in regular flash fiction prompts and contests as a way to practice and hone my skills. I find that the more I do, the better my writing is… in general.

Recently, I find it hard to get to classes, so I read a lot of craft books, follow other authors and read their blogs, practice my own writing, and listen to my editor. I also attend a monthly writers group through my local library and this is an opportunity to learn as well as get feedback on my own writing.

I find as I write more stories, I can use what I’ve learned on the previous ones to bring them into the next story.

As far as teaching writing classes and workshops, I run a writers group for teenagers at my local library as well as run school holiday workshops for them. The next workshop is on fractured fairy tales this school holidays!

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  1. Hi Melissa,
    Your English classes remind me of a really cool one I had. It was a pace-yourself English class with a list of essays to complete and occasional touchy-feely whole-class activities. Once we went outdoors and sat in a field. We had to touch hands (or perhaps hold hands) with whomever we ended up sitting next to. As a senior in high school, that was pretty awkward but the write-up was fun and I did well.
    I totally agree with you about critique groups. I find it difficult to read books on the craft of writing because the chapters are so long and my eyes become tired. There aren’t many audio books on the topic.
    Nice to connect with you again!

  2. Life does get in the way–although nothing is wasted for the writer–and I’m so glad you have been able to take your place once again as a writer.

    Happy 35-Day Challenge!


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