When I embarked on a career in the writing industry, I knew it meant stacks of ongoing learning. In the same way being able to cook didn't meant I could open a restaurant, being able to put together sentences didn't mean I could just launch in and become an author and editor. After researching my options, I undertook four certificate courses: Creative Writing, Short Story Writing, Professional Editing and Proofreading, and Professional Children's Writing. All were comprised of twelve units, each containing multiple modules, with an assignment in every single unit. It was heaps of work but paved the way for me to learn the fundamentals of the craft. And, of course, that wasn't all I did.
A continual stroll into self-guided learning, through reading, helped me gather information at a relaxed pace. There were lots of worthwhile internet resources and books on writing, some more reliable than others. A variety helped me get a feel for what was common knowledge and what went against convention. Generally I stuck to advice from sites or books relevant to the country I aimed to be published in. Sometimes I'd leave the isolated path to attend workshops run by writing centres.
By hearing presenters speak about aspects of the craft while they guided me through exercises at workshops, I refined my skills. Though these workshops had real limits, they helped me feel part of the writing world. They also introduced me to the concept of critique groups. Once closer to completing stories, I sought out others on the same journey as me and we formed one.
My critique group provided fun ways of learning. In return for my feedback on the work of others, they'd give feedback on mine. How useful this was depended on the experience of the member giving it. Luckily I found the perfect group straight up, though I know people who say it took time to find the right self-driven group. Still, no matter how hard it is, I recommend everyone gives it a go.
After critique partners helped me kick my work into shape, I entered competitions. Wins and commendations provided validation to help me submit work to publishers. As well as receiving plenty of publication, I've worked as an editor, run writing classes, and mentored other writers. All this maintains my skills. It also means I see how frustrating it is for people to piece together their learning when not getting the guidance they need. That's why CKT's Author Personal Training excites me.
Author Personal Training is an avenue for writers seeking help that's specifically devoted to their own work. Like good mentoring, it identifies gaps in learning. Unlike mentoring, and because writing can be so subjective, it uses multiple readers to determine the appropriate feedback. This comprehensive approach unearths the missing pavers so the path to gathering all the necessary skills becomes complete. It's the most rewarding method I know of helping people find their way because the less gaps in the road, the more likely they are to reach their destination. It really is the perfect solution for those struggling to pave the pieces in their writing path.