Do you take writing classes? Â Do you do exercises or tutorials from books and websites?
If you've been around the writing life for a while it might seem like you've found all the information you really need. Â It might feel like a class on dialogue or setting is just going to be repetition of things you've already heard. Â A class on basic creative writing? Â You're so far beyond that!
Or maybe not. Â Taking classes isn't all about learning something new (although that's great, too, so do if if you can). Â It's about immersing yourself in your writing. Â It's about setting aside time and attention solely for your writing. Â It's about getting focused, maybe hearing a new take on an old subject, and building connections with fellow writers.
Why Take Classes:
- External deadlines--class assignments will help keep you moving forward
- Community--you'll meet other writers, including the teacher, either in person or virtually, and being around other writers is great for motivation
- Focus--when you've paid for a class, you're more likely to actually put in the time and focus on your writing, at least during the duration of the course
- Fresh ideas--you can always learn new things, even about something you already know a lot about; classes will let you hear ideas from others and maybe spark new ideas of your own
Why Use Tutorials and Exercises:
- New ideas--someone else's questions may spark new ideas in you
- Break through a block--questions and exercises can give you an entry point into your writing that can help you get past the blank page
- New understanding--someone else's phrasing of something you already know can give you clearer understanding of the subject
- Build a cushion--doing exercises can help you build up a stash of story ideas, story starters, scenes, and dialogue for later use which is especially helpful when you feel stuck
Obviously I'm a fan of taking classes to keep your writing flowing. Â It's a great way to keep connected to your writing and to the writing community. Â And tutorials, exercises, etc. are a great way to get your brain out of your personal grooves and into different thought patterns. So, especially if you're feeling stuck or sluggish in your writing lately, try out a class and see if it gets things going again. I think it will be worth your time.