Welcome to Writers’ Uni-Verse-City (or WUVC for short because every university has an acronym), a place where writers/bloggers can meet to discuss the craft of writing in the Internet age. WUVC will involve independent research, setting a curriculum and hopefully finding other participants (like you – readers/bloggers/writers) to: chip in, give tips, suggest books and other materials for study, teach me the ways of the warrior writer, and offer to guest post here at Uni-Verse-City (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).
I started my self-education in June 2011 and I have completed the first semester since in many universities one semester is about 4 months. During this time I have learned a lot and accomplished quite a bit as well.
I started to not only read an endless number of blog posts on the craft of writing and the publishing industry, but I also bought and read a number of books. So far I have read four craft books, which works out to about one per month. While this doesn’t seem like a lot for a university syllabus, I have also read at least one book of fiction in my preferred genre per month.
On the craft of writing I have read:
- The Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer
- We Are Not Alone: A Writers’ Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
- Story Engineering by Larry Brookes – review to follow soon
The fiction I read was:
- Ahern, Cecelia – Where Rainbows End
- Gregory, Philippa – The White Queen
- Keyes, Marian – Angels
- Keyes, Marian – This Charming Man
- Keyes, Marian – The Other Side of the Story
In addition to learning by reading, I also had some guest lecturers (guest posts):
- Guest Post – 6 Ways to Keep Your Readers Engaged by Marcia Richards
- The Trouble with Writing is…Guest Post by Catherine Larose
- Gene Lempp’s Book Review of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- Guest Post: Alberta Ross – Indie author reflects on social media and ROW80
- The Pros Do the Finish Work – Guest post by Jenny Hansen
I have also signed up for a lot of newsletters from industry insiders.
There were also some fun events:
In addition to all the reading and learning from other writers/bloggers, I joined the writing challenge called A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). I participated in Round 3 and wrote nearly 50,000 words on my first novel and now I am currently partipating in Round 4 in the hopes of writing another 50,000 words.
I think one of the best ways to learn or what was most enlightening for me was:
- I started writing a manuscript without any previous training or knowledge in the craft of writing. I discovered my own writing process first before trying to follow the advice of other writers and experts.
- After I had written a good portion of my novel, I decided that reading and learning about the craft would help me improve. Reading books and blogs taught me a lot about some of the classic mistakes I was making in my WIP and some of the key things I was doing correctly.
- I think of writing as a buisness and I’m willing to work evenings and weekends, to take it seriously and to finish my first manuscript and learn as much as I can as I go. My to-read list has grown substantially and keeps growing. I learned that being open to improvement and reading craft books, puts you “ahead of the pack” of other people who are aspiring writers.
So where am I now? I am consistently blogging 3-4 times a week instead of once ot twice a month as I did when I started blogging. I am practising my skills and keeping a writing schedule: Travel Mondays, Writers’ Uni-Verse-City Wednesdays and Lifetyle- or Book-themed Fridays with the additional ROW80 Check-in posts on Sundays. I’ve also been recieved some snazzy blog awards (in the sidebar).
I have over 60,000 words in my novel and it is plotted in detail up to the final chapter. I have set myself the weekly goal of writing 5,000 words on my manuscript. I have been getting just under this number consistently because I have also added reading and blogging to my ROW80 goals, which are taking up a little more time that they did in Round 3 of the ROW80 writing challenge.
Finally, I have met many friends, mostly via ROW80 and the lovely visitors on this blog and Twitter. My social network has expanded on Twitter and I’m getting some traffic on my Facebook page, which has some pretty travel photos by the way (*Like*) ;). So I’m happy with my progress, but I know I can achieve more. So I’m going to keep on reading, writing and interacting with all of you for the next semester here at Uni-Verse-City Blog.
What’s your biggest personal accomplishment in the last 4-6 months? What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned from participating in social media or writing challenges such as ROW80?