The Curious Education of a Writer

writing450By Jennifer Hallmark

Education. It’s the Writing Prompts word of the month. One of the meanings of the word educate is to give (someone) training in or information on a particular field. A doctor needs a minimum of twelve years of specified training. A lawyer needs a four-year bachelor’s degree, then 3-4 years of law school before taking the bar exam and obtaining a license.

But a writer? I used the word curious in the title because it can mean strange or unusual, a good description of the education of someone who picks up a pen or keyboard and goes to work. Like artists and others in creative fields of work, writing is subjective and there are many ways and means to become educated. A college education can be helpful when it comes to writing. Stephen King graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in English. However, many well-known authors did not have college degrees. Mark Twain dropped out of school at the age of twelve to support his family after his father died. H.G. Wells also left school to support his family.


Today’s writers have a plethora of opportunities to learn their craft, from online courses to writing and critique groups to one-on-one mentoring. The information is out there. You just need to search for what’s right for you in your own walk of life. If you are looking for more education or groups, I’ve listed a few places to check out.

The paths we follow on this journey vary. One of our blogging crew, Karen Jurgens, spent a lifetime teaching and began her writing journey after she retired. I had a similar journey as my friend, Sandra Ardoin. We both started with Community Education classes, writing groups, then onto blogging and novel writing.

Another Crew member, Betty Thomason Owens, said, “I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville to get started. The rest of my “training” has come from ACFW Scribes and the many classes at the conferences. And reading Edie Melson’s blog, among others.”

As you can see, right and wrong ways to learn the craft do not exist. Whether you start writing in high school or college or after retirement, do everything you can to learn the craft. Read well-written books by the dozen. Discuss writing with others who know more than you and less than you. I truly believe you can learn from anyone.

Keep learning.

Stay curious.

And keep writing.snoopy writer

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