This is the second week posting some of our favorite blogs of the last two years. We’ll be back next week with new posts – after we take some time out for fireworks and all kinds of holiday fun. I hope you have a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve, and God bless you in 2011!
Originally posted March 18, 2009
I love to learn. Always have. I was the annoying kid in class who got excited about a pop quiz! I haven’t generally been a fan of the kind of writing class you find at college, but I love the kind you find online.
When I first heard of online writing classes, I think it was through Romance Writers of America (RWA) chapters. The classes were primarily taught by published authors <gasp!>, and covered practical topics you need to know to become a published author. Very different from the high-brow stuff I’d heard in college. And far more useful.
What I learned over time is that a 4-week online course is not the only kind of useful class. Yes, it’s necessary (and fun!) to learn how to write better dialogue and how to make revisions that will help sell your book. But I loved learning at what temperature the human head explodes (one-day forensics seminar put on by a medical examiner) and how to produce an independent feature film (UCLA Extension class) and about the life of King David (a class at church).
Those three classes, along with others, helped me with a series I’m writing. There is going to be a huge explosion at the end – the forensics class gave me some ideas. I want to focus the story so that it draws the widest audience without diluting that audience – learned about that in the film class. And hearing about the fighting skills of David’s Mighty Men gave me some ideas for the hero and his family.
In fact, I’ve long been considering going back to school and getting a Master’s Degree, studying where religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology intersect with storytelling, and why humans have a need for storytelling. If all goes well, I’ll be starting next year!
Meanwhile, I still take online writing classes – balancing them as best as I can with actual writing. LOL! I also am a big fan of buying the CDs of taped workshops at conferences. I am working through the 100 or so workshops from last year’s RWA conference. And I’ve found you can combine work with pleasure if you put them on your iPod or MP3 player and take a notebook and a lawn chair outside in the sun!
If you’re a member of an organization that offers online classes, ask them about volunteering to moderate a few. In our chapter, a group of volunteers each moderate 2-4 classes a year. For giving their time like this, they get to audit all the classes during the year. It’s sooo worth it!
That’s my take on classes – what do you think?