On the Job Training.
As a writer this is a constant thing, you’re learning about the subject your writing about, the different techniques in writing, what markets are open to your ideas, and the best way to capture an editor’s interest.
I remember when I decided to write; I bought a book that said it would tell me the best way to write.
Then I shelved that book.
So, I entered a couple of short story contests; that’s when it occurred to me “Geez, there are rules…” So, I took a class or two.
I’ve been doing this for ten years; seriously now for the last 2-3 years. I don’t think there is ANY book out there that teaches you exactly how to write, what to write, and then what you do about it. Each editor, agent, and publisher has different expectations. Contests have their own rules.
The best thing I did; was to join a writers group (or two). Now it doesn’t guarantee you success, but it does give you access to information and support. Did you know if you write alone it just takes all that much longer? At least for me it did. Now, I have done more in the last few months then in the last year because I have signed up for things that required deadlines and expectations.
OJT has also taught me how to learn things by osmosis. You may roll your eyes at me, but it’s true! There are things that I heard, like “Passive voice is very bad”. But it wasn’t really INGRAINED in my head; until one day I looked at something I wrote and realized—it was boring and needed to be jazzed up…made active. (See, osmosis!)
OJT never ends as writer. Heck, I’m still realizing I am one step behind the power curve. I am in the process of trying to get my synopsis done. You know the thing; the one item that makes you pull out every tiny hair on your head-- If it doesn’t you’re either blessed or cursed…:)
So as a writer what OJT things have you learned and what are you still learning?