The 5-Week Author Blog Challenge 2015 – Day 3

What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?

I have avoided classes, programs and workshops – mainly because I am still reeling from that comment made by a teacher in college (see here). I hate being judged in that way. My mother, at least, is prone to telling me “what works”… though she leaves out the meat I want which is the “what doesn’t word” and “what isn’t clear”.

Lately, I have been doing a mind exercise where I try to talk about the details that get missed when I write stream of consciousness.   So, for example, “she walked in to the room” might turn into “the orange glow from the lamp beside the door cast a long shadow as she walked past the door frame” (yikes, what a poopy example!).

But it is about noticing more than the singularly obvious… things that set the tone to the story or some such.

So that is what I want to work on, and to be rather frank – it is terrifying. I am crappy at getting down the details!

The fact that I am so bad at it in terms of writing my story is that it is somewhat shameful for someone who has a background in ethnography, something where attention to and description of detail is vital and important. But it is hard to translate that skill into writing! What are things you do?

I do a lot of technical and scientific writing. It is interesting to mix the two; scientific writing vs. writing for pleasure (though I admit they can be one and the same at time, I hope you will indulge the separation of them). One is defined by clear and specific text while the other has much more leeway.  As I try to write more that is not dependent on a precise data set, I find myself worrying that it is too muddled, not clear… Do any of you have this problem? What do you do?

Today my hat tip goes to The Quirky Philosopher for this post. As an armchair philosopher I loved the title of her blog, but found some really good things to think about regarding the prompt o’ the day!

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