The career novelist will develop a writing improvement program, beginning with a notebook.
I am all about professional development. Its fun. Or maybe I’m just weird. But think about it: going to conferences, reading, writing, reading, rewriting, workshops, critiquing, editing. Doesn’t that just excite you? A little?
Okay, maybe you like it, maybe you don’t, but it is something we all need to do. In order to improve, we have to be willing to see the stark naked truth of our weaknesses, accept them, and work to change them.
James Scott Bell puts forth a writing improvement program and shares one aspect of how he does it. A Writing Improvement Notebook. He breaks the notebook into three sections:
- Exemplar: examples of authors you love and writing that moves you.
- Outside comments: how else would we know what we needed to improve upon?
- Self-study: create a plan to overcome your areas of weaknesses and then do it.
My weakness is character development. In my mind I see dynamic characters, but what’s on the paper, not so much. I also want to learn how to add layers of mystery to the story like Jill Williamson posted in her blog the other day.
So what say you? Do you like professional development? What are some things that you’ve done to improve your craft? What areas are you working on now?