Everyday for ten days, I’ll post a new tip for finding a writing class.
Number Five: Help from Friends
No matter how professional your intentions are, a big part of a class setting is how well you get on with the other people on the course. Over time you’ll either grow to trust their opinion or know who in the class is worth ignoring. (Yes, you don’t always have to take people’s advice when it comes to your writing. But this is a topic for a different post.) And often students will form their own writing group after the official class has finished, allowing the momentum found during the course to continue. However, the ‘friends’ aspect of a writing group can be implemented before you’ve even stepped foot in the classroom.
Do you have a friend who is a fellow writer? If so, suggest that the two of you pick out a class together. Not only will walking into a room full of strangers be easier with a mate at your side, but you’re more likely to continue going to the class every week if you have a buddy.
Or, do you have friends that go to a regular writing class or group? Do you have friends that work at the local library, community centre or College who can recommend a class? Don’t be shy about asking for advice. Writing can be such a personal experience, that some people are afraid to even tell like-minded author-type friends that they’re writing a novel/play/short story/memoir. Sometimes we’ll tell friends our most intimate of secrets – problems in marriages, troubles with family members, or even physical ailments that should only be discussed with a doctor – but we won’t tell our friends that we’re aspiring writers. This is absolutely silly. Asking friends for advice on writing, which class you should take, or even asking a friend to join you in a class can help not only build confidence but also give you access to writing techniques.
With this said, not everyone has a supportive writing community around them. Not everyone has friends who share the same hobby/passion/desire to make a ‘go’ at writing as you do. Not all friends or family will see writing as a worth while pursuit. While this lack of support can be devastating to the beginning writer, sometimes it is easier to keep your writing habits to yourself and find a supportive community elsewhere – such as social networking. (Yes, I should not be encouraging people to keep secrets from friends and family, and we should all stand up and pronounce the importance of writing, creativity and literacy. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s easier to maintain the status quo, and find solace in the technological arms of social networking.)
Currently there are numerous social networking sites for writers and authors, not to mention blogs that act as social networking tools. These can give you support via ‘groups’ and message boards, provide information on local events and classes, and some even offer webinars and online tutorials. Two of my favourites are SheWrites and Shortbread Stories, but the concept is growing everyday, so have a web browse as I’m sure you’ll find something that appeals.
Tip One: Be Realistic
Tip Number Two: Stop Making Excuses
Tip Number Three: Research
Tip Number Four: Know What You Want
Tip Number Six: Ask for References
Tip Number Seven: Pay What You Can Afford
Tip Number Eight: Don’t Change the Class
Tip Number Nine: Tradtional or Online Learning?
Tip Number Ten: Keep and Open Mind