Becoming Stronger Writers: The Best Ways We Can Elevate Our Writing Craft

Elevate Your Storytelling LinksWith it being September, and all our collective kiddos are firmly back in school, education is on my mind. Last week, my oldest headed out on his own post-secondary adventure to become an electrician, and it reinforced to me how important it is to always be stretching ourselves as writers.

Now I do know writers who feel they know enough because they have read the books, done the courses, and written the books, but this isn’t my view. I can NEVER know enough.

Every day new writers are adding to the storytelling well. They are taking the information and theory currently out there and adding their own perspective, which creates further depth and insight. These writers then share their ideas in articles, lessons, craft books, and most importantly, through passion-filled fiction that spellbinds readers (and makes us writers all wish we had that sort of talent!)

Logo-OneStop-For-Writers-25-smallBecca and I are always trying to bring you content to help you grow as writers, and our mission at One Stop For Writers is literally to Elevate Your Storytelling. And if you follow me on Twitter, you know I love to curate great content.

So in the spirit of always educating ourselves, I thought I’d mention just some of the sites I visit often for great articles that inspire and enlighten, and other ideas to help with self-improvement.

 

Terrific Writing Blogs

Now Novel: Great general writing topics, for all genres.

Anne R. Allen (with Ruth Harris) A deeper look at many aspects of writing and publishing.

Mythcreants This site tackles unique topics–a must-visit.

Helping Writers Become Authors Katie Weiland is an undisputed writing craft master.

Story Mastery Michael Hauge’s insight is unparalleled–I have learned a ton from him. Read his posts, buy his books, attend his workshops. Can’t recommend him enough.

Live, Write Thrive C.S. Lakin has a ton of knowledge, so visit and take your writing up a notch!

Writer Unboxed Great topics, from a variety of posters means many voices and options. Excellent site.

Jami Gold Jami knows her way around storytelling. Grab all her beat sheets!

September C. Fawkes September blogs deep writing craft. Visit and always learn something new.

Kristen Lamb Kristen has tons of writing knowledge and social media. A win-win site.

Better Novel Project Great breakdowns and craft advice. The cartoons are a fun bonus.

DIYMFA Another terrific site with some really rich articles on elements of storytelling.

Elizabeth S. Craig Elizabeth not only gives great craft advice–her Twitterific posts are a must-read.

Writers In The Storm This group blog mixes support, writing advice and publishing tips all rolled into one.

Top Writing Books

And here are some of the books I recommend most often:

 

write from the middle structuring self-editing wstsheartofyourstory12 pillars21st-centuryOn Writingsavethecat

And here are some books I am excited about releasing or are in my TBR pile:

 

diymfa don-mass-emotional-craft story-genius

Writing Conferences and Festivals

Recently I’ve posted in a few places about conferences, both on how to make the most of the conference experience, and also how to grow into the role of “professional author” when it comes to interacting with readers, giving talks and workshops, and selling books. Conferences can be a terrific opportunity to learn. Here’s a link that may help you find the right conference for you (updated each year).

Online Courses, Webinars & Recordings

Online courses and webinars can be an affordable way to fill gaps in your story knowledge. I have downloaded some of the lesson packets from The Margie Lawson Academy, and taken webinars through WANA International, and found both very valuable.

heros-two-journeysA recording I highly recommend is Michael Hauge’s Hero’s 2 Journeys. You get several hours with not just one world-renowned story expert, but two: Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler. They both bring great story structure and character motivation information to the table using the famous Hero’s Journey and 6-Stage Plot Structure methodology. Worth every penny.

story-genius-workshopA new course that costs more but offers great value is Author Accelerator’s Story Genius, which is a 10-week course that teaches you how to write a story that the reader’s brain is hardwired to enjoy. Taught in tandem by two excellent writing coaches (Jennie Nash and Lisa Cron) you’ll learn how to drill down to the essence of your story to deliver a meaningful story that readers crave. There’s a self-study option too, if that’s your learning style preference.

I know C. S. Lakin also teaches online writing craft courses from time to time, and while I have not taken any, her writing books are excellent, and she’s our editor for the Writers Helping Writers books, so I don’t think you could go wrong checking her out either.

(Note: I’m not being compensated in any way by these instructors.)

Writing Retreats

mountain-cabinOne more thing I’d thought I’d mention, just in case it’s in your wheelhouse: writing retreats. This is something I have always wanted to do, and I think most writers would as well, but costs is always a factor. Often local writing groups host these, so look around at your own community as the prices may be more affordable.

Or, create your own. I have a mini one planned in a few weeks time, and I can’t wait. I’m sharing costs with a few local writers and we’re heading off to the mountains for the weekend. It will be great to get together, talk writing, brainstorm ideas and learn from each other.

If you’d like to do a retreat that is a bit longer, you may wish to look into Cruising Writers. Not only can you book a week-long writing cruise where you learn from great speakers and get face time with editors and agents, you will find inspiration and fill your creative well. USA/NYT Bestselling Author Steena Holmes gave one of these retreats a try and wrote a terrific article on it: Writing Cruise = Best Career and Writing Decision Ever.

Now, if you are up for a writing cruise…maybe we could go together!

liberty-of-the-seasI’m thrilled to announce that I am locked and loaded for the September 2017 Western Carribean Cruise, and will be teaching writers how to go further and deeper with their description. I would absolutely love it if some of our blog readers joined up! Lisa Cron will also be there, and as she’s completely wired into the brain science of storytelling, writers will learn how to drill into the essence of what their novels are about.

tropicalIf you think spending a week with me and honing your craft sounds like fun, I hope you’ll check it out.

If you prefer land over sea, they also have some amazing trips coming up, like a week long stay in France in a wine Chateau with Margie Lawson. Now that would also be amazing.

Seeing as both of these aren’t until 2017, there’s time to save up. 🙂

And of course the best thing you can do is to always make time for writing. The act of creating and applying what we learn is ultimately what will help us grow into stronger storytellers. So write, write, write!

If you know of a resource, site, a book, course, or something else that might help others, please link to it in the comments!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

About ANGELA ACKERMAN

Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in About Us, Experiments, Focus, Motivational, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Becoming Stronger Writers: The Best Ways We Can Elevate Our Writing Craft

  1. Pingback: Writing Links Round Up 1/9-1/14 – B. Shaun Smith

  2. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 10-6-2016 | The Author Chronicles

  3. Pingback: Monday Must-Reads [10.03.16]

  4. Great resources, thanks. I often attended the Surrey International Writer’s Conference and always came away with some valuable information and contacts. It was always the motivation I needed to continue. I agree with you, as a writer, you never stop learning!

  5. Zoe says:

    The Odyssey Workshop (http://www.sff.net/odyssey/workshop.html) offers in-depth online winter classes, and a six-week residential workshop in the summer. I’ve attended both, and can honestly say the residential workshop was the best thing I could have ever done for my writing. It’s intense, but if it’s something you have the time for, really life changing. I encourage everyone to check out the website. If you can’t do six-weeks residential, try an online course. Really excellent.

  6. Have a wonderful time on the writing cruise, Angela. Thanks for mentioning Now Novel alongside such great company.

    B

  7. I go through dozens of writing blogs a day to collect the best links to post every Wednesday. The one blog I alway include is Janice Hardy’s “Fiction University.”

    http://blog.janicehardy.com

  8. I couldn’t agree more that there’s always something to learn!

    When I signed up for creative writing at school, I was speaking to a girl about it who said, “oh, I looked at that but decided against it because I’m already a good writer.” It made me cringe to hear it.

    Thanks for taking the time to compile so many useful resources in one post!

    Astrid Kaniele
    http://www.astridkaniele.com/

    • I think one big part of being a success-bound writer is getting to the point where you know enough about writing to realize just how much you don’t know…and instead of giving up or saying good enough, you embrace the process of learning. Taking another step, tackling another aspect of writing…this is what we do to grow. 🙂

  9. I imagine there’s not a job or career that you never stop learning. Even waiting tables, you can learn more about your guests, regular customers or otherwise. I love learning and research—and turning what I learn into stories!! 😉

    • Me too–I am a lifelong learner. I think most writers are, but I have run across a few who believe they are “good enough,” which is fine if they are happy where they are at, but my personal goal is to make each book better than the last. 🙂

  10. Sara L. says:

    Ooooh, congrats on the writing cruise, Angela! That should be so much fun! (I almost said a “boatload of fun,” but decided I didn’t want to be pun-ny. *blushes*)

    And that’s a fantastic list of writing resources. I follow several of the sites, and Mythcreants in particular is a must-read for speculative fiction writers. As for craft books, one of my favorites is Cheryl St. John’s Writing with Emotion, Tension, and Conflict. And though my opinion might be slightly biased, I love the DIY MFA Book, too. It’s a great encapsulation of all of Gabriela’s concepts for creating your own “MFA program” and making the most out of your personalized learning experiences.

    Finally, I’ve been to Writer’s Digest Conference twice and can vouch for how invaluable it is for learning more about the publishing industry and the business side of being a writer / author.

    • Thanks for weighing on, Sara! I think the conference one is really important. You spend a lot of money to go, and so you really need to know what you can expect before choosing. Some conferences are more for different levels of writers than others (beginners, or those who are already published, etc.), or they focus on a specific aspect of the industry more so that writing improvement. Writing craft is not always a given–sometimes it is more publishing focused, or marketing focused, etc.

      the DIYMFA book is on my list! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *