You don’t know what you don’t know until you start discovering what other people in the know do know.
That’s a mouthful, but it’s true. And it’s the reason I am so thankful for all the information provided by other authors, both published and aspiring.
I have a mega-shelf of books on the craft of writing and a long bookmarked list of blogs and websites, all written by wonderful people sharing their knowledge and experience, offering advice and encouragement.
Writing (and learning writing skills) is an ongoing process. With every new thing I write, I expect it to be better than what came before it, but I know that won’t happen by itself. Continuing to write without constantly improving my skills reminds me of the description of insanity I once heard: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I believe it’s important to sift through the available sources of information to select the most reputable. Not all online courses are equal, nor are all writing-related websites. One thing I’ve learned from perusing the internet is how many “self-made experts” exist. There’s a difference between sharing one’s experiences to encourage others, and regaling readers with advice on how something should be done. When I encounter the latter I’m pretty cautious. I want to know the person’s credentials. I do a lot of “lurking” on prominent publishing professionals’ websites and writing forums, filtering out the information that I hope will be right for me.
Some of the websites I find most useful are listed in the sidebar, but there are many others not listed. I also enjoy following other writers’ journeys because it helps me understand my own experiences are not unique. For instance, it’s reassuring to find out how others have either avoided or dealt with the inevitable obstacles.
Group sites such as Seekerville, Novel Journey and Adventures in Writing are three of my regulars and some time ago I added Romance Writers on the Journey. Even though I wouldn’t originally have said romance was my genre, Keli Gwyn has great interviews with writers, both published and unpubbed, sharing their experiences.
This might be an appropriate point to mention that Keli interviewed me earlier this summer. She will be posting that interview on her site next week. And there will be a great GIVEAWAY involved. That’s all I’m going to say for now. You’ll have to check back Friday for more info. 😉
There is a point to all this mental meandering. I want to suggest that learning the ropes isn’t like enrolling for a single, time-limited course; it’s a life-long thing. Searching out current, credible, and helpful resources is part of that process.
What websites have you found to be most helpful? What other resources do you recommend?