How many of you have been doing something for so long that it’s like second nature to you? For me, one of those things is writing stories. I can’t even begin to count how many stories I’ve written in my lifetime, and because I’ve done it so much, sometimes I can fall into the trap of just…doing it. Doing it over and over and thinking there’s nothing more to learn.
Newsflash: there’s always more to learn.
A good example of this is the way I keep getting stuck with Project Pea, my WIP. I’ve never had problems writing first drafts in the past, but for whatever reason, this one has been attacking me tooth and claw! I realised that maybe I need to take a step back for a bit and learn some more. It’s only been a couple of weeks reading articles and attending free masterclasses, but you know what? I feel so much more equipped to really dig into this draft already.
Learning is really a wonderful thing. Some people hate school so much when they’re kids that as soon as they graduate high school or college, they claim they’re done with learning and studying forever. But…
Learning doesn’t have to be a chore.
Plus, it’s so much easier when you can learn at your own pace. That’s why now is the best time to learn! As an adult, you have quite a bit of control over your schedule (probably more than you realise). You have the power to make sure you include meaningful pastimes in your schedule and eliminate some things that may not be as useful. (For example: set a time limit for scrolling through social media and use that extra time to read a good article instead!)
As a writer, especially, you should always be striving to learn more. Our craft is complex, detailed, and just sort of huge. There’s so much to learn, so much that one person could probably never learn it all. Plus, if you don’t do research, you may be missing out on tons of awesome writing methods that exactly suit your needs!
I know what you’re probably thinking. “All of those subscriptions and masterclasses are so expensive! I just can’t afford them.” I know. I can’t either! That’s why I never pay a dime to learn about writing, and you shouldn’t either. The internet is so vast that it’s really not worth it to spend thousands of dollars on a writing course. You may have to put in a little extra time compiling information yourself, but it’s totally worth it to save that much cash.
Here are some free resources that have been really useful to me, in no particular order:
1. Reedsy Learning
Reedsy itself is a massive resource, providing services like book reviewing and editing as well as tons of writing prompts, challenges, and more.
And while Reedsy Learning only has 54 free writing courses, they cover everything from writing good fantasy to book design. Also, each course is 10 days long. Each morning, a “lesson” is sent to your inbox for you to read whenever you want! Think about it: if you took all 54 courses back to back, it still would take you over a year to finish them! That’s a lot of content.
Take a look around Reedsy. I guarantee there’s something there you can learn and/or benefit from!
2. Helping Writers Become Authors
Author K.M. Weiland hosts a plethora of useful information for writers on her blog. It’s impossible to even begin to cover everything she blogs about, but needless to say, no matter what area of story crafting you want to learn more about, she’s got it covered! She also runs a podcast that I’m sure is just as useful as her site, though I haven’t listened to it in quite a while (there are just too many things to listen to!).
3. Story Grid
Story Grid is a really cool new website I’ve become aware of. They have an interesting and unique method of breaking down and analysing stories that I’ve been studying recently to be better prepared for outlining and drafting Project Pea. I very highly recommend looking into their “5 Commandments of Storytelling.” I wouldn’t say that they’re presenting “brand new essential storytelling information” or anything like that, but they break down story basics in a way I’ve never seen before – and it makes a lot of sense to me. They also have a YouTube channel, TikTok account, and podcast, though I haven’t delved into any of those yet.
4. Savannah Gilbo’s Blog
I found out about Story Grid from Savannah Gilbo’s podcast, Fiction Writing Made Easy. From the link I’ve included you can also take a look at her blog, where she echoes topics from her podcast and writes about the knowledge she’s gleaned from being a book coach. Gilbo does advertise her paid courses pretty heavily, but she has plenty of great info for free across her website. She even does free masterclasses on occasion!
5. The Creative Penn
This is another podcast I’ve enjoyed, accompanied by a great website! Joanna Penn is a bestselling self-published author who talks about all things writing and self-publishing, which is mainly the reason why I listen to her. If you’re an indie author, Penn’s stuff will be especially great for you to dig into! I haven’t had time to keep up with her podcast recently, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it.
6. Creative Writing Now
This is another site I’ve only recently become aware of, which is funny to me given the obvious name! Though a much smaller website than Reedsy, it’s a similar all-encompassing resource that’s crafted with care by passionate individuals. They have writing courses (some of them free), tips on all things writing, and plenty of story ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
. . .
There you have it! I hope you’ll take a look at one of these sites, at least, and try to learn everything you can from it. It all begins with the acknowledgement that you still have more to learn, because we all do! And I don’t know about you, but I find learning on my own time to be pretty fun – and certainly helpful.
Don’t let yourself be stagnant, writers. Let’s keep learning as we walk through this long and perilous journey together.
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