When I retired just over a year ago, after 30+ years of teaching at the elementary level, I turned first to art and enjoyed classes and challenges.
But, in November 2013, I took part in NaNoWriMo. I dug out some novellas I had written over fifteen years ago and decided to edit and revise them during that writing challenge. That rekindled my love of writing and since then I have committed to improving my writing.
I have taken several courses over the past year and tried to write daily. The best writerly advice I have found comes down to “Butt in chair” – to improve is to write and write often and consistently.
Writing is a very solitary practice, yet we are very social creatures. Yes, we must and need to write, but we can also reach out to others. I have discovered that there are so many ways to combine the two.
I have joined 2 organizations as I have also started writing children’s books.
SCWBI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and 12 x 12 –(12 Picture Books in 12 months)
Finding ROW89 in the spring has really helped me by providing accountability and a supportive community.
There are many other writing groups through Facebook and all of these provide writing support, connections and even advice.
I am used to art challenges which I still take part in and so I have pursued writing challenges. I now participate in two weekly writing challenges that force me to write blog posts each week and interact with others.
For “30 Words Thursday”, we post a photo and write a 30 word poem inspired by it.
At “Slice of Life Tuesday” the goal is to “write about the ordinary moments, the daily grind, and the mundane chores”. During March, the daily Slice of Life really challenges you to search for topics and write daily.
Journal writing, writing morning papers, following blogs that provide writing prompts are other ways as well to stretch one’s writing.
I’ll end with Brian Clark’s advice about writing:
10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.