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: [email protected]).
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?
21 thoughts on “Writers’ Uni-Verse-City – A semester in review”
Wow – you’ve taken on a huge amount and are progressing wonderfully. Keep up the great work – you are a huge inspiration! Woot woot!
Thanks Natalie. Its not too much for 4 months, but I did take a three-week vacation this summer. As a side note: places for guest posts for Wednesday’s Writers’ Uni-Verse-City are always open. 🙂
I’m with Natalie…I think your progress is nothing short of astonishing. If you keep this pace up, you WILL be published at some point. (Woot!!)
Thanks for all the fun you’ve engaged in with me (Twitter parties and guest posts). Which Marian Keyes book that you read was your favorite??
Wow Jenny now THAT is a motivating comment! 🙂
Hmm. Its hard to choose. I liked both “Angels” and “The Other Side of the Story” a lot. How about you?
Love your Wednesday check-in Rowsis! I think it is so valuable to step back and acknowledge ALL the things we have achieved and accomplished. Keep up the good work and feel free to message me on Twitter any time to let me know how you are getting on.
Thanks for the encouragement Em. It is good to review every now and then.
Most impressive! Congratulations on your year-to-date achievements and your last week. Has anyone told you that you are quite a structured individual – it will serve you well in your writing practice. Best of luck for next week.
This is only a 4 month check in not 12. 🙂 But maybe I should do a 12 month check in down the road….now you got me thinking. I would like to think I’m organized. Thanks for the comment.
*Pompoms* Congrats on your semester. You SHOULD be proud! It’s pretty cool to look back and see how far you’ve come, huh?
I think a lot of the things I learned don’t appear in this post. These are just landmarks, but the things I absorbed and applied are much greater. 🙂
It sounds like you’ve been doing really well! Congrats! That’s great that you took control of your writing education by reading craft books and posts from the pros. I’m sure your hard work is paying off! Good luck finishing your draft. 🙂
I did take control of my own education because I’m currently not able to take a Masters degree. So I thought I would learn as much as I can on my own while I wait. Hopefully it will shine through in the writing.
You are doing great! Keep up the good work, and keep us posted on your progress.
Great work keep it up! My greatest accomplishment in the past few months has to be the growth in my blog and getting to write for a national charity 🙂 As for what I’ve learned, give to receive – if you aren’t commenting on other peoples work no-one will comment on yours, and variety is he spice of life – people don’t want to read the same old stuff from you day-in-day-out, appealing to a range of audiences keeps old fans returning and brings new people in 🙂
I’d have to say you really made a great point about the keeping this “fresh” or “spicy” because there are quite a few blog posts that I read that seem all too familiar because they post on the same topics. But there are also a LOT of great blogs I follow that are very spicy.
Congrats on your accomplishments. You’re on your way up. 🙂
Nicole, you’ve accomplished so much in the last few months! I agree with Natalie — you are an inspiration to all of us. 😀
Speaking of inspiration Lena. Grad student/fiction writer!
This all sounds incredible. I am so grateful I have connected with you via #Row80 and #wordmongering. I love writing in community. It works fantastically well. You are doing phenomenally and this “Uni-Verse-City” sounds like a place I may like to hang out!
Hi Julie. Thanks for stopping in. It gives you an extra boost to write in a community…ok a huge extra boost. #wordmongering is awesome
Impressive – kudos to you! I’ve never heard of A Round of Words in 80 Days…I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for the heads up!
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