Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Workshops & Online Classes

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

Conferences don’t always fit into an author’s lifestyle, schedule, or budget, but Workshops & Online Classes are available from many reliable sources for continued learning and growth. Like conference workshops and presentations, online workshops and classes cover almost every topic related to writing, publishing, and research. However, not all are of the same quality and not all instructors have the proper experience and/or knowledge to teach them. Lots of true experts offer workshops and classes, so be selective.

Many genre-specific writing organizations and RWA chapters offer great classes on topics like period costuming, crime scene investigation, and mythology—the research end of writing. Authors have a wide variety of “day jobs” or experiences that are excellent real-life resources. Check out the instructor’s credentials, if possible. An emergency room doctor or nurse is a much better source of information than someone who watches every episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

College degrees are fine, but a combination of book knowledge and applied knowledge usually provides a more accurate basis for information, especially in writing craft and publishing-related workshops and classes. A creative writing degree is much more effective when combined with actual publishing (writing and/or editing) credentials.

Authors are expected to use social media to promote themselves and their books. For the technologically challenged, the learning curve can be a steep one. Invest in online classes about using social media, creating blogs and websites, and self-promotion, taught by those familiar with marketing and the publishing industry to avoid learning pushy promotion techniques. Using social media incorrectly can be worse than not using it at all.

A few suggestions:
Kristen Lamb – Classes on writing craft, social media, and other writing/publishing-related topics. She also posts regularly about writing/publishing/marketing topics on her Warrior Writers blog. Great info!
RWA –For RWA members only. RWA University offers one or two online workshops per month. Many are free. Others are low cost ($10). Topics vary and have included Taxes for Writers, Self-Editing, and Pitch Perfect.
Genre-specific RWA chapters – Kiss of Death, FF&P, Celtic Hearts, Hearts Through History, and others offer many research-related topics. Some classes and workshops are available to non-members.

Online workshops and classes are available on almost every topic a writer might need—research, grammar/writing craft, social media, writing programs like Scrivener and OneNote, book cover design, etc. They’re an affordable alternative to conferences and some conference speakers also offer the same classes in an online setting. Continued growth as an author is vital!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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