I start my grad school classes next week! I must say I'm excited to be involved in workshops again. I've had a relatively productive summer writing-wise. Podium Finish has undergone another revision and I completed the first draft of Borrowed Time. And...at about midnight last night, when I was supposed to be getting a good night sleep before orientation, I decided I want to dust off an old story I wrote in high school and see where it takes me.
Before undergrad, I never showed my writing to anyone. It's not that I wanted to keep it a secret, but rather that I didn't understand the importance of the writing community. I had no concept of revisions, editing, or beta readers. My undergraduate courses showed me that getting feedback from others about your writing is not only necessary in order to grow as a writer, but is also fun. Criticism doesn't have to be negative, and some times it takes another person's perspective to point out areas of your work that need improvement. Do you use too much backstory? Do you have flat characters? Do you use filler words? As writers, we get set in a style, but sometimes we are blind to our own mistakes. This is why having a workshop or critique partner or beta reader comes in handy. Also, having to critique the work of your peers makes you a better writer. There were so many times in workshop when I would realize "oh, I do that too," or "man, I should try this technique."
Another great way to connect to the writing community is to read the blogs of other authors. I came across Veronica Roth's blog and loved it. I read the kindle sample of her book and am going to read it in full as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. Also, author Nova Ren Suma has some pretty interesting posts on her blog. So what's my favorite blog I've come across? The Other Side of the Story by Janice Hardy. If you're a writer looking for author interviews or tips on how to fix common writing problem, this is the place to go. If you have a finished manuscript, I recommend checking out the Gearing Up to Get an Agent contest on Deana Barnhart's blog.
That's all for now. In the coming weeks, I hope to have tabs set up for both of my manuscripts and well as my short story "Far From Home," which is available for purchase on kindle. I wrote it when I was a junior in high school. Check it out! I'll also be blogging about grad school. I wrote a children's story for my Children's Lit class. I have to hand it out on Wednesday for workshop the following week, so I'll let you know how that goes.
Have a good Labor Day weekend.