23 August 2011

The world is your classroom

Photo source
All across the nation, school is back in session (or will be soon).

Kids are dragging themselves from bed at a decent hour to stand on corners and wait for buses, parents are singing their personal "back to school" songs in joy, pencils are being sharpened, and I'm dancing with glee through the school supply aisles of stores, excited at all the amahzing sales for the things I love so much.

I was one of those nerds who liked school. I liked organizing all my school supplies and loading up my backpack, I liked getting a new assignment notebook. But most of all, I liked learning new things. It was rewarding and encouraging, and as a writer, I always found ways to apply what I was learning to my writing life.

Maybe that's why I always liked school so much: I'm a writer. And writers never stop learning. At least, they shouldn't. Regardless of genre, writers draw from the world around them for inspiration. The people, places, and situations they encounter all contribute to the words they put on the page. So by continuing their education, formally or informally, writers expand the world from which they draw inspiration. The more they learn, the better their foundation for creating stories.

This doesn't mean that, as a writer, you need to enroll in college classes every year. If you can, great! If you take workshops and seminars, that's awesome! Attend lectures and Q&A sessions, go to concerts, ask questions of experts. But learning on your own is just as valuable. Just as you can attend a lecture series at a local college, you can find books by reputable authors and study on your own. You can dive into topics like geology with all the passion you have. And when you come up on the other side, your writing will be richer for it.

Never stop learning and you'll never stop writing.


  1. I'm in grad school, which means I've been in school forever. I always liked shopping for school supplies too, especially notebooks. Now I always buy Moleskine journals, because they're easier to write on.
    I always carry one of those journals with me, because I often hear or see something interesting/weird/funny. Then I write it down so that I can use it for a story. And more often than not, I end up learning something from those little observations.

  2. I always carry journals with me, as well. You never know when inspiration will strike, or you'll see that quirky dad playing the violin as he walks his son home from school (true story!).

    Opening your eyes to the world really is the best teacher, isn't it?


Add a little caffeine to my life...