Further Education for Writers

Not all writers realize that continuing education is a must for a writer. Think about it. No matter if you are agented, published, or still looking for beta readers, is your MS the BEST it can be? No. Emphatically no. There is always room for improvement.

My grandfather used to ask my mom when she was in school, “Was that the best you can do?”

No matter how well you write you can ALWAYS improve.

Now, writers write, and good writers write more. Practice makes perfect after all. Or maybe, practice is just one more way to make you better.

There is another way that is very important when you want to improve your writing. Read.

Now reading, in itself, will help you learn to develop flow and characters better, but I am talking about reading about writing.

This weekend I got to go to Barnes and Noble bookstore. This is always a dangerous thing, and this time I brought a credit card, even more dangerous. But, I went on a mission. It was time to get a book on writing, or actually on grammar. (My comma skills are woefully out of date!) So I walked into the bookstore looking for a specific book.

EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES- The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

This book has been recommended to me several times because of my complete incompetence with commas, so it was definitely time to get it.

Unfortunately it was in a section dedicated to writers. (Here’s where the credit card came into play!)

As I started looking at all the wonderful books, I realized there is more that I can learn. Much more. And it was all staring at me from the shelves. How could I resist?

I couldn’t.

So I came home with not only EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, but also:




I also picked up a special bookmark (I have a soft spot for bookmarks) that has a quote by Winston Churchill– “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER QUIT”


So now not only do I have a novel to write, I have a lot of great books to read as well. Next, I will get books on the business of publishing….but that is another blog post.

If anyone else has read these books and has any advice on them or on other books to read, just let me know!





Filed under author, character traits, characters, climax, conflict, crazy, growing, ideas, inspiration, learning, love, novel, paranormal, punctuation, rules, thinking process, Thriller, voice, Writer, writing, writing novels, writing process

4 responses to “Further Education for Writers

  1. KevSparrow

    Hey Dawn,
    I have Eats Shoot and Leaves, but it is (disgracefully) unread…I like my punctuation as it is, although I am certain that I should actually spend the time reading this book. It had good reviews.

  2. Good post, Dawn! It IS important to study as much as we can the craft of writing. A lot of newbie writers forget this. They think they can get away on talent alone (or plot, or characters, etc.). A good writer employs grammar and writing skills to present their story in the best possible rendition. The thing is, we can all write, but can we tell a story?

  3. Excellent recs, Dawn! I ❤ the Eats, Shoots & Leaves book. I always thought it had the most ingenious title. Good for you for improving your craft! A writer is never done learning. I think that's one of the things I like most about this career choice. I'm always hungry to improve my craft and ready for a challenge, and writing allows me to do both.

  4. SOOOOO True! (ooh, and rad how this is a black background w/white font. Me gusta.) Anyway, I am always floored at how much better my books are at the end than the beginning. We improve daily–reading other people’s work, whether fiction or non, is good for our writer souls.

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