Learning the craft of writing

 ‘Creative writing can be systematically approached and successful work does not arise only from talent or inspiration.’ Hazel Smith.

 That is what I really appreciate about the Creative Writing course I am currently undertaking at university. While one of the incentives was to achieve my Master of Arts, the major motivational impetus came from a desire to improve my writing skills. I knew I could write; I’ve had quite a few publication successes already. (Read about this here). I desired to improve my chances of getting regularly published by improving my skills.

In the course I am doing the nuts and bolts of effective writing are taught systematically and with patience, understanding, appreciation and encouragement. Sure – it helps to have dollop of talent, a bucket of inspiration and a truck load of persistence, but the methodical approach to the teaching of writing has been so beneficial to me. I know many other students feel the same.

Doing a creative writing course may not be for everyone; it has worked for me and I would encourage all potential or struggling writers to at least consider this option. It is not the only way of learning the craft of writing.

How to learn the craft of writing – some suggestions:

  • Read: read, read, read – if you want to write fiction, you must be reading fiction. If you want to write poetry, you must be a reader of poetry.
  • Self education:  buy or borrow books about writing and study them diligently, applying what you are learning. There are thousands available, so be selective.
  • Join a writers’ centre or writers’ group: these organisations often have informative newsletters and run very useful seminars.
  • Attend seminars: seminars and conferences about writing are held in most major cities. Take extensive notes – and apply what you are learning.
  • Attend workshops: many writers’ groups run workshops where you can have your writing critiqued. This is an excellent way of honing those skills.
  • Search the internet: there are thousands of web sites just like this one. Many offer advice on being an effective writer. Apply what you learn.
  • Write, write, write: the bottom line is that regular writing improves one’s writing skills. Write frequently, write regularly and don’t give up.

Good writing.


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