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  1. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    How much writing training do you have?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by gigantes, Jul 11, 2008.

    hmm, it seems polls are turned off here. okay, then:


    HOW MUCH WRITING TRAINING DO YOU HAVE?

    A- i have an associate/bachelors/masters in writing.*

    B- i have a background in college writing courses.

    C- i have one writing course or workshop in writing.

    D- i've read a book on writing or put a lot of time into reading online materials on the subject.

    E- i don't have training, but i had fun and excelled on writing assignments for english and other courses.

    F- i don't have training, but i have years of practice and critical feedback.

    G- i don't have training, but i have the most important thing of all- the strong urge to write.

    H- other. (explain)

    *actually i don't know if there is such a thing. would it be called a lit major, a liberal arts with a major in writing, journalism, etc?

    ...

    BONUS QUESTIONS:

    2. how important do you think training is for a professional writer?

    3. if you received training, how much do you think it helped?
     
  2. Kirby Tails
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    Kirby Tails Member

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    A strong desire to write, and some practice. Not much critiquing, though...most peole either have a lot of problems with my writing, or they really love it.
     
  3. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing training?

    Life - provides me an endless amount of content.

    Writing Instructional Books - read more than thirty at last count - They provide me with writing knowledge and I continue to study every day.

    Websites - like Purdue University's Online Writing Lab provide additional reference.

    Desire to write - this feeds the energy hog that demands so much writing time.

    The Internet, local library and people - sources of research.

    Trial and Error - there is no substitute for "just do it". And when you're done, "just do it again!" We learn best from our mistakes, and those who make no effort, have nothing from which to learn.

    College - while college taught me to think and analyze, it did very little to "teach" me novel writing skills. The few writing standards that they did teach were limited to technical writing, certainly not the stuff of story-telling.

    WritingForums - These can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Most such sites are frequented by people with little to offer and big ego problems. Cliques abound and if you're not pandering to the "cliquees" (whoopee, I get to coin a new word!), then you are a target. Good advice, support and congenial fellowship is hard to find. Fortunately, this site meets those requirements.


    Overall, I have come to believe that most successful writers are an amalgamation of a little formal training, a little self study, a little life experience and an enormous amount of persistence which drives the trial and error engine until they "get it right".
     
  4. Afterburner
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    Afterburner Active Member

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    I've got a high school diploma but that is basically my only writing experience. I wouldn't say I LOVE to write, but it is definitely an enjoyable hobby. The only critiquing I have is on the excerpt of the novel I'm working on that I posted in The Review Room.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I have a B in English at GCSE, and little over a year's worth of writing expirance.
    Side from that, the only things that keeps me writing is my own desire to tell storys.
     
  6. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    I have an image in my head, there is no training no book nor website that can make me realize that image on paper. They can provide clues or keys, but they cannot unlock the door from my mind to the paper, only I can do that.

    I am untrained, I know only what I've read and what I dream in my own mind.

    I take what information I can from the sources I find, in hopes that the muddled path from mind to paper, can become more consistent and clear, but in the end it is the quality of the image in my mind that will dictate the quality of the story I pen.
     
  7. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    I've taken a bunch of college courses on writing...Out of all of those, advanced grammar was probably the most helpful. Creative writing was the class that taught me how to write even when I wasn't feeling like writing.

    I don't think that formal training is necessary to be a good writer...but on that same note, I think that it is very important to have a good understanding of spelling and grammar. Advanced grammar helped me tremendously in understanding commas and the other little nuances of writing - I'd suggest taking a grammar class (from a professor who truly understands grammar) for anyone looking to improve their writing.
     
  8. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    It's basically C-G, for me. I really don't have any real training other than one writer's workshop I took a year and a half ago, and that's not really training. I did always enjoy English in school, though, especially the writing portion of the subject.

    Formal training isn't necessary to be a good writer. I'm sure it helps. I want my major to have a focal point in writing, whether that's journalism, creative writing, English or another option, not sure. But I think so many writers out there are naturally talented, 'training' just isn't necessary. It's all genuine ability.
     
  9. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's really irrelevant and none of anybody's business, but mostly D on down, and a lot of personal work in overlapping fields such as linguistics and history which have been really useful.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all of the above, plus 13 years of running a writing consultant business with private clients who paid me up to $150/hr [back in the 80s/90s!] to do their writing for them and/or fix their writing [of all kinds]...

    plus many years of writing my own short stories; articles; mag/newspaper columns; song lyrics; ad copy all for pay and being commissioned to write a commemorative poem for westport, CT's sesquicentennial, among other things...

    in addition to writing novels, screenplays, plays, a musical comedy book and lyrics, short stories, non-fiction books and assorted other stuff on spec...

    not important at all, if one has the inborn talent and the ability to develop the skills needed... i never took a single course other than brief, a basic one each, on writing scripts for tv and for writing song lyrics... nor bought/read a single book to learn how to write, other than a couple of screenwriting how-tos, which are a necessity if one wants to write scripts...
     
  11. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    For me, I suppose that it's a tie between D, E, and G.

    I don't have any formal training or education on writing. Or English, really, beyond basic English up to about 10th grade (I graduated High school, they just didn't require me to have English every single year I guess).


    2. how important do you think training is for a professional writer?

    I would say not very, at all. I used to think differently, but I've heard, from numerous sources, that writing courses only make you feel all the more "self-important" and pretentious. Plus, it always seemed that way to me anyway, but I always had a secret desire to get into one. Until, that is, I learned a little more about those types of classes.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Are we being graded on this? Do we lose our certification if we fail?



    ...what certification?
     
  13. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I remember my psychologist, after I'd gone on at length about writing, asking me if I had any formal training in it and all I could do was give her a blank look, like, "Huh? They have formal training for that? Why?"

    C- i have one writing course or workshop in writing.

    I took a college creative writing class, but I get the feeling that's not what this means...

    All the others apply in one form or another. I wouldn't say I've had EXTENSIVE criticism since I haven't sought it, but I've had some, and I've given some.

    D- i've read a book on writing or put a lot of time into reading online materials on the subject.

    E- i don't have training, but i had fun and excelled on writing assignments for english and other courses.

    F- i don't have training, but i have years of practice and critical feedback.

    G- i don't have training, but i have the most important thing of all- the strong urge to write.


    BONUS QUESTIONS:

    2. how important do you think training is for a professional writer?

    3. if you received training, how much do you think it helped?


    Well, I don't see the point in wasting thousands of dollars taking a college class or getting a degree in something I already know and/or can learn on my own from experience, so I don't think "training," at least in this sense (college courses and degrees, etc.), is necessarily important. Add to this the fact that just because a teacher teaches you something doesn't make it true or right. My "creative writing" teacher in college, for example, was a literary snob type who didn't seem to understand the "creative" aspect much--he frowned upon my attempts at genre writing just because he could visualize my scenes like they were in a movie (horrors!). He also detested the word "seem" because "Nothing ever seems! It either is or it isn't!" (Guess he doesn't like to read mysteries.) And he thought use of a cliche like "a small drop in a big ocean" was okay whereas a word like "infinitesimal" wasn't, just because it was such a big and complicated word and readers apparently don't like those because they're hard to understand. *rolling eyes*

    I learned a lot of useful things in school but that's just it--most of it was in junior high. And "training" evidently doesn't work for everybody or else most people weren't paying attention because throughout the rest of school, I seemed to be one of the very few people who actually knew how to write--although nobody around me was interested in reading it, they were mostly in awe that I could write fiction! Like it was some sort of mystical ability to understand grammar enough to string sentences together. I was using what I'd learned in the same classes they took. *shrug*

    I think the best training is that which you get from writing itself. There's only so much that studying style and theory can do. You have to actually try doing it yourself for a long time. And even if you haven't had any training and what you write is lousy, you can always teach yourself or learn on your own. You don't need to pay good money to have somebody tell you to read some of the classics or construct a sentence like so. Just do it yourself. I learned how to diagram sentences up the wazoo, and learned all those proper grammar terms, but I can't recall any of that now except how it all works. I can tell you that something in a sentence is wrong, but I won't be able to say why; I learned the why but it was using the technique myself in my own writing that truly taught it to me. Most of the truly useful things I've learned about writing better, I've learned just from doing it for myself, looking back on my older work and shuddering, redoing it, learning random tidbits from others' writing, and writing some more.

    Getting feedback is the more difficult part, but again, it can be done without resorting to paying. And feedback is a funny thing; one person will love something you wrote; another will detest it. You have to learn to use your own judgement most of all.

    And not be afraid to look in a dictionary or grammar book when you're not 100% sure of something. :D
     
  14. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I am going to try to be brutally honest here. I have no formal training, but I crave it all the same. Most days I hate my own writing. The stories and ideas are there, but my knowledge of sentence structure and even basic grammar is sorely lacking. I start an English degree in August, but as a card carrying, completely distracted sufferer of ADD I'm not sure I can get through it. I love to write, but sometimes I feel it is my own worst enemy.
     
  15. wildflower
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    wildflower Member

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    I guess my answer would be D - I have read a book on writing novels and done online research on writing forums to pick up techniques and so on.

    The reason I waited so long to start writing was because I don't have any English qualifications - I got a D grade at school. My strongest subjects were history and German.

    Failing at high school level English didn't stop me from getting merits and and Honors Degree though. Through University I got really good feedback that I could write persuasive arguments for essays and such. This built my confidence.

    Then I read a few books about how to write novels - they were straightforward enough. I'm a huge reader anyway, so I thought my vocabulary was fairly decent and I'm pretty creative in other areas.

    Finally two years ago I had a 'life changing' event happen and that made me think what I wanted to do before I died and one was write a novel. I always wanted to do that.

    My experience as training to be a counselor gave me good insight into people and relationships and I draw on that a lot when I write

    So I personally don't think you need to have formal qualifications in English to be a publishable writer. I think all you need is a will to learn the craft and a good imagination.

    I daresay others will disagree, but that's just my opinion
     
  16. wildfires
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    wildfires Member

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    E, F & G.

    I do well in that crap they call 'English' at school, I'm part of an online writing forum which I get/give a lot of crit in and I love writing.
     
  17. Adelaide
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    Adelaide Member

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    I took one semester of Creative Writing in high school and attended a three-week writing workshop for teenagers last summer. The three-week workshop did offer me an interesting take on how to look at my writing, but in the end the real benefit of both things was the fact that it gave me motivation/reason to write in great amounts. Last summer I produced more (good!) writing in three weeks than I had in the previous six months.
     
  18. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    thanks for all the feedback! and i think i should answer the poll as well: my own answers would be "E" and "G". (more later if i can successfully manage to chew gum and avoid tripping and falling down the stairs)

    well, you managed the trifecta in being able to make your presence felt, avoid the questions, and interject a small amount of amusement. i'd be one of those instructors who would give you an "INC" and extend your deadline. :p
     
  19. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    - I've read a book on writing and some online tutorials and tips (I also try to improve through critiquing.)

    - Been to a couple of workshops

    Other than that, nothing. I only started writing properly last year, and I plan to do a related course at Uni.

    BONUS QUESTIONS:

    2. how important do you think training is for a professional writer?

    For some more than others. Some are naturally gifted and know when something sounds right or wrong. Others need more practice to develop their skills properly.
     
  20. hellomoto
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    hellomoto Contributing Member

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    I've had as much training as you get from 6 and a half years at school!
     
  21. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    None. I read, I write, I listen to others. That's my training. :)
     
  22. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I get to be the odd one out again. (That happens to me a lot.)

    I consider every bit of education, every book I've read, every movie I've seen, every conversation, every dream or nightmare, every triumph or defeat, every sorrow and every joy to be "writing training."

    But how much specific "THIS IS TO HELP YOU WRITE BETTER" training?? Not a jot or a tittle, unless you count all the lit classes, grammar and comp classes that were required in high school and college, and grad school.
     
  23. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    Any writing training I have was self taught. I've taken English classes in college, of course, and am planning to go for a degree majoring in it. That being said, I've seen some pretty bad writing from college students, so I think talent, and more than that, personal discipline are what really makes a writer. Classes are just another useful tool...
     

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