This is an Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. To check out their site or sign up for the monthly blog hop, go here and enjoy all the awesome blog names (seriously jealous of a few of them).

Posts might be thin for this month, with people in the throes of the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo (which I didn’t even know was a thing until this year. I’m hanging back to see how it all works before I dive in, so if I do it will be for the big National Novel Writing Month itself. #goals).


July 5 Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

Picking just one lesson out of the many that have smacked me over the head since I got serious about this writing thing, that’s going to be hard.

I’d say . . . one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned has been the craft, the art of writing. The tools and nuts and fiddly bits that combine to make a good story.

As a reader, I know when they’re present and wince when they are absent. As a writer I’m learning to recognize, de-construct, and use them.

What tools you ask? Which specific one has been the most valuable?

All of them.

I realize this is not helpful, so I’ll include a brief list:

  • Some basics like grammar (I’m still working on that semicolon) and how to insert dialogue into your writing. I didn’t know this before, and now I’m finding out about it all at once.
  • How to write a scene.
  • Stringing those scenes together to make one whole, overarching story.
  • Rising action leading to the climax and the gentle descent of the epilogue.
  • Tropes-they’re classic for a reason. Everyone loves being brought along for a good Hero’s Quest, especially when the quester is an Underdog.
  • Dialogue-especially good dialogue. Recognizing bad dialogue is becoming easier as I learn what to look for.

I’ve found these tools of the craft mostly through online research, entering RWA chapter contests for the editing, and reading, reading, reading. Reading everything I can get my hands on, hoping to absorb the tools to write well by osmosis. I’d like to take a class/workshop or attend a conference but money-wise and childcare-wise that’s not practical right now so I’m on my own with my colleague Dr. Google and any published book I can lay my hands on. Oh, and On Writing, as well, which I dive back into whenever I need to be reminded about specific tools.

It’s an exciting time as I find all of these things just lying there waiting for me to learn how to use them. It’s fun to go back and apply them to my story. Whether it helps my work become publishable, well, we’ll see.

As I find various toolboxes and useful articles online I post them here on my site so you can see them too. Other writer’s sites have collected troves of priceless information and I find and link to them. That probably makes me the goblin digging tunnels and sneaking from the Dragon’s hoard in this scenario but whatever. It’s collected in one place so I can click on it and mutter “Preciousss” if I want.

It would take too long to list them all again, so you can find them all together on the page I have For Writers.