by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
True story. I’m on the phone with SuperGirl ~ our weekly two-hour catch-up call ~ and she says . . . Wait for it. Get this.
She says, “I don’t know if I’m going to Blue Ridge next year.”
MoJoWriterGirlsays “Say, whhaaat?!”
Of course, Blue Ridge isn’t Blue Ridge without my posse. And I’m super happy because during the interview for my now-you-know-about-it new career, I told them straight up, I need a week in May. I’m already committed to being out of state. They nodded. They approved.
So. Girlfriend. If I’m going, you’re going. You got that?
However, I understand that sometimes, as you so patiently pointed out, conferences may be out of reach financially. What’s a writer to do? I’m so glad you asked . . .
For you, and for so many others, here are five ways y’all can grow your writing skills if you can’t attend a conference.
- Online podcasts. Oh, please. Like y’all didn’t see this one coming. In particular, I’m fond of Aaron Gansky’s Firsts in Fiction (and I don’t even get paid to say so!). Another good choice is Novel Marketing with Thomas Umstattd and James L. Rubart. You can Google whatever keywords you’re looking for and “podcast” and a plethora of choices pop up. Try audio only so you can listen in your car, or video so you don’t miss our pretty faces. Just sayin.
- Local writers club. These are great places to meet like-minded people. Let’s face it: When you’re a writer, the only time you fit in is with other creatives. Why wouldn’t you want to join the club? You can trade tips and tricks, hire guest speakers, and reach into the community for sales and marketing. If there isn’t a local club where you’re at, or one that suits your style, create your own.
- Critique groups are another great source of feedback. Members commit to share their writing in progress and give honest opinions. Think of it as your pre-edit edit. While you’re writing your novel, your team can tell you what works and what doesn’t, which characters need more development, and what scenes are spot on. They can help you hone your first draft into a fine, and sometimes final, draft.
- Learn online. You can find answers to almost everything online. From blogs on how to write better (The Write Conversation) to writing seminars to college courses and everything in between. And, bonus, you can do it any time, and in your PJs. How’s that for sweet in your tea?
- Magazines. For realz. What’s a writer without stacks of papers around her? [Note to self: Clear the sofa before next week’s dinner party.] Magazines can be everything from the craft of writing to a collection of stories in your genre to generic use as tear sheets to put in your story bible for reference. You can almost hear it, can’t you? Okay, I’m gonna say it. “There’s no wrong way to use a magazine.”
And there ya have it, all. So, I’m curious: How do you learn without breaking the bank?
With cozy sweats, a working pen, and a large coffee,
And Frankly, My Dear . . . : That’s all she wrote!