Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG and questions about classes



It's the first Wednesday of the month which means time for my monthly post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! This is a blog hop so please check out some of the other insecure writer's here.

This month I want to talk about creative writing classes. I've never taken any. I've always been too afraid of sharing my writing in front of others and I'm guessing in a class setting you would have to! I'm wondering what other people's thoughts are on this? Have you taken a writing class that just blew your mind and changed your approach to writing forever?! Or have the classes been more like a writing exercise--good, useful, but didn't necessarily add that much to your process.

I'm working on my 3rd full-length novel and I know that after each project I've finished, I've become a much stronger writer. I feel like I'm finding my voice and I'm starting to take more risks in my style. I'm really proud of myself for improving but I know I still have more to do. But being self-taught, I'm wondering if I can only improve so much.

Of course, the easy answer would be--yes! A writing class will do you good! At the same time, I've taken other creative-type classes (not in writing) that, while fun, didn't quite jive with what I was hoping to accomplish and in the end, almost became a diversion to my ultimate goal?

14 comments:

  1. No, I've never taken a class outside of high school, but I did join a few critique sites. It's a way of sharing your work - without standing in front of the class!!! - and getting some feed back. It's because of the Writer's Digest forum that I met a wonderful friend who encouraged me to visit Scribophile. THAT site is how I ended up getting published - over a half dozen times.

    Perhaps take a peek at those sites. Be brave & put your work 'out there'. Get some feedback. Grow. Submit & get published!!!

    Best of luck!

    Terri @ Scribbler's Sojourn

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    1. Thanks so much for your suggestions! I will definitely check out Scribophile and Writer's Digest Forum. It sounds perfect for what I'm looking for. I really appreciate the help!

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  2. I loved my experience. Everyone is in the same boat. And generally it's free writing. Tho every class differs. Think of it as a IWSG only in person. You won't regret it, Elizabeth. And you're liable to make long lasting friends.

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    1. Hi Joylene! Thanks for the encouragement. I've definitely been considering it and I know I need to take the next step. Sometimes, it's just difficult. ;) I appreciate the feedback!

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  3. I took creative writing classes as part of my undergraduate work and I really value the time I spent there. Of course, quality of course depends on quality of instructor, so individual results may vary.

    I agree with Terri, though, that much of what you get from a class you can get from an excellent critique group. The feedback you give can help you just as much as the feedback you get--it's educational to have to articulate WHY something isn't working for you.

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    1. Thanks Samantha for the feedback! This IWSG is great in that it exposes me to things I might not have thought of before. I never really considered a critique group but I'm definitely thinking about it now. I appreciate your help!

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  4. A couple of years ago, I attended a week long conference hosted by Free Expressions and literary agent, Donald Maass. I'm a big fan of his Writing the Breakout Novel book, among others. This was the first conference I attended that was focused on the craft of writing and storytelling. It wasn't cheap, but for me, it was totally worth it. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. Thanks for the book and conference suggestion. The Maass book looks really interesting. I'll definitely check it out. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my site!

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  5. No writers are entirely self-taught...thus, this group. Writers are readers, so they have a world filled with authors ready and willing to teach them all they know. On your third novel? You are endless potention finding your next direction.

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    1. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. It's nice to hear from other writers out there!

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  6. I've never taken a creative writing class, but I've considered it. I'm of the same mindset of the others that critique groups, or even a critique partner would be a good starting place. I started out at Ladies Who Critique. Not everyone I traded with was a good fit, but I did find a couple who I really clicked with. Critique partners are an excellent resource, and I know I consider mine to be really good friends.

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    1. Oh, and it looks like Father Dragon touches on the topic of critique partners in his post. You might check it out.

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  7. I have taken my fair share of courses, including creative writing. Depending on the course you may land up with more than short story writing. They can be very helpful when learning about POV, tenses, and active voice. Adult education is not the same as high school, if you ask the instructor not to read out your work or ask you to read it out they usually respect your wishes.

    I say go for it. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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  8. I'm self taught as well and wonder the same thing. I have learned so much through blogging which is wonderful. I think a class could be helpful but as you said....if it was the right one. Congrats on your accomplishments!

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