10 Ways to Grow as A Writer

I’m of the opinion that no matter how much we grow as writers, there is always room for self-improvement. We can always be learning and sharing our knowledge. I think to horde our gift with words is something of a travesty, and that when we share and help others foster their own gifts we enter into a new stage of growth ourselves.

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10 Ways to Grow as A Writer

1.Read Books on Writing
On Writing by Stephen King, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, The Art of Spiritual Writing by Vinita Hampton Wright, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Winning the Story Wars Jonah Sachs. There are so many great books on writing out there. Just pick one and go!

2. Read Books on Craft
Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker, The Negative Trait: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland, The Writer’s Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior by Carolyn Kaufman, Revision and Self Editing by Scott James Bell, Hooked: Write Fiction that Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

3. Active Blogging
You don’t have to blog necessarily, you could vlog, or be an instagrammer too. The point is that you put yourself out there and are constantly creating content (which you have to develop somehow, typically through writing). For bloggers, some of my favorite articles that I’ve written are some of my most widely read. Starting a blog doesn’t come with automatic success, but keep posting anyway. It’s not about the views and the comment love. It’s about posting your voice and your content, being yourself, connecting with other writers, authors, and bloggers who love the same things you love and like to spend their free time talking about it. Your efforts to remain active with your blog is also about reaping the benefits of writing daily. So keep at it.

4. Participate in Writing Challenges
Do Nanowrimo (November) and Camp Nano (April and July) to write vomit drafts of new manuscripts and get in the habit of always writing. Find other Challenges and hop right in. Don’t stop writing. If you need to switch to a different project, that’s great! Do it. Just don’t let go of your habit once established.

5. Enter into Writing Competitions
If you’re ready to pitch your work, enter into Twitter Pitch Parties and Twitter Writer Comps. If you have some short stories that are ready, submit them to competitions and see if you can’t start getting your work noticed. In the coming weeks I plan to put together a list of competitions, so be on the lookout for that also.

6. Attend Writer’s Conferences
I’ve only been to one conference, and that was the 2017 SCBWI Annual Summer Conference and it was the best experience I could have ever asked for. I’m like addicted to that feeling now. I learned so much. I met so many people. I rode this euphoric high of encouragement and enthusiasm and passion for writing that now I just love conferences. I’m convinced they’re all the same, which I’m sure they’re not. At some point, I’d like to go to the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in NY, the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles again, the SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle, the Southeastern Writer Workshop and the Atlanta Writer’s Conference. Not all within the same year of course!

7.Found a Writing Meetup in your area
Get out there and help other writers, create a community of writers that want to help each other.

8. Become an active member of a writer’s organizations.
I am a member of SCBWI, but there is a chapter near-ish to me, Southern Breeze, that I’d like to be more involved it. I’d also like to become a member of Romance Writers of America and become involved in their RWA chapter Georgia Romance Writers.

9. Found, foster and develop a community project that is impactful to the literary community.
Help young writers do what you do. Encourage them to share their stories and their unique voices. Or start a diverse writers group where writers of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to come and share their stories. Visit nursing homes and start a writing with the elderly program. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

10. Volunteer to read to children at a library and practice your public reading skills.
Prepare for the day that you’ll be reading your own work out loud and in front of people. What better way than to practice in front of both a forgiving crowd and a crowd that has a short attention span. You’ll have to figure out how to be engaging as you read in order to keep the little ones riveted which will only serve you later on! Thankfully, despite their aptitude for the wiggles, they’re also full of hugs. So if you bomb your first reading, they’ll still thank you for reading to them anyway. Awww!!

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Resources

Many conferences offer scholarship opportunities to those in financial need or on a merit basis. Check into the conferences you’re interested in ahead of time and plan accordingly.

You don’t have to buy all the books, first talk to the librarian at your local library and ask if that branch will consider buying the resources you’re interested in. Usually, they will, but they might be more willing if you asked if you could partner with them to host a writing program there. This extra incentive makes their purchase of writing resources more easily justifiable.

Even if you can’t attend a conference or get access to all books you’d like to read, the truth of the matter is that you’ll just have to make due and learn how to extract everything you can from the resources available. There is a wealth of information available online. I’m currently working on a resource library for you all to access because there is no shortage of quality information, you just have to know where to look!

Lastly, a positive mindset goes a long way when funds are tight. Trust me, I know this from personal experience.

From my heart to yours, I pray that you feel encouraged in your journey as a writer, that you feel equipped with tools for your growth and that above all, you feel motivated to pursue your passion.

I hope I’ll see you again for my next post!

Keep Reading and Keep Writing,

Nicolette Elzie

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