Monday, September 8, 2014

Writing in 140: Forever Learning - The Life of a Writer

To write is to participate in a lifelong-learning endeavor.

The good news is many avenues provide the learning we need to better our writing.

Editing, reading, teaching, and walking are powerful learning tools for my literary pursuits.


I learn with each story I edit. The learning may tie into the writing craft specifically or with me personally, and even then, the “personal” lessons often find their way into stories I write.

Reading books on writing or books for education, entertainment, or enlightenment always ignite ideas for writing.

When I teach, the interactions and experiences in and out of the classroom become potential fodder for stories.

Walking allows me to see and participate with the world and people around me and to develop new story ideas through that participation.


In what ways are you fostering lifelong learning in your writing career?



Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.

11 comments :

  1. Almost everything we do as writers either is or becomes fodder for our writing, I think. Because we translate experience into written knowledge or into the ingredients that make the mix of our fiction, we are always absorbing information for future use. I don't how it works for others, but I find that when I'm writing information, experiences, situations come to mind often unexpectedly, so that I discover I knew, or have experienced, some event, fact or whatever without having been conscious of it at the time. It's this access to the subconscious that allows our writing to express the whole world of our knowing in ways that are unique to each one of us. Learning, in this way, becomes more a way of life than any conscious effort or programmed device to increase knowledge. That is how it seems to work for me. Thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking post, Shon.

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    1. Thank YOU for your great response, Stuart. And you are so right about us writers using everything around us as fodder.

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  2. The research I do for my novels and my freelance journalism is one of the biggest contributors to my ongoing learning in the broadest sense. As to writing per se, teaching and coaching other younger, newer writers has reverberated through my own writing and helped crystallize my thinking about the writing process.

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    1. Larry, I, too, find that my mentoring and editing of other writers aids in my own writing. And I love it. It always becomes such a pleasant surprise when through teaching I have an A-HA moment about my own work.

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  3. Editing has been a huge teacher for me. When I edit someone else's story, I approach it objectively and with a critical eye. Errors and shortcomings stand out, along with passages that grip my heart and earn kudos for the author. My own work, however, is perused much more subjectively, so I try to use the things I've learned from editing the works of others to address the problems with my own manuscripts. Additional avenues of grist for my writing mill include people watching, the evening news, experiences related on Facebook, occasional movies and TV programs, published books by other writers, and the list goes on. It's particularly helpful to study novels and movies for character and plot development. Shortcomings translate into my not making the same mistakes and great scenes inspire me to create my own spectacular (I hope) passages.

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    1. Linda, I find that when I edit, I like to keep a little journal beside me because almost always I learn a thing or three that can benefit my own writing.

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  4. Why, I frequent the BRP ... what else?

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  5. Reading also teaches us how to be better writers: learn what works from the best, learn what doesn't from the worst.

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    1. YES, Diana. Reading, alongside writing, is extraordinarily important. It always befuddles me when I come across a writer who tells me they don't like to read.

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  6. Glad to see the 140 back, Shonell, and this is a good post to remind us that we learn so much that applies to writing in other ways. One of the things that I have recognized as a real asset to the writing is exercise. I am not "learning" something specific, but it sure stirs up the old brain cells and makes them more productive. (smile)

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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