Oh my, I see we’re doing really well on posting this month. Well, at least Paula was on time! LOL Our topic this month is on continuing education for our writing. And yes, I missed my regular time to blog. And since I’m technically the “leader” of the pack, I’ll will take the blame for us being a little lax this month.

I’ve long been an advocate of constantly learning more about the craft of writing. Since I was very young, I enjoyed writing. Even those many, many essays in high school and college! And I enjoy teaching writing/self-editing whenever I get a chance. And I promote conferences, like the Colorado and Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conferences, the ACFW national conference (which I am missing this year . . . sigh), and other conferences.

But . . . true confession time . . . I am an online writing class junkie! LOL I’m permanently signed up to the course loop ACFW offers their members. Why not? It’s free. And I can hit the delete button as well as anyone on the months I’m not interested in the topic. But usually I keep or copy or print the lessons the “teacher” presents and try to go over them when I get a chance. I don’t usually have time to keep up with what people post in response to the assignments, unless the topic really interests me (i.e. is an area I really need help with).

This month is a discussion on including the faith factor in our writing—how much is too much; how much is enough; what is too little, etc. And of course those answers vary as to who we perceive our readers to be and the purpose we write. Sharon Hinck is leading the class, and I consider her one of the best in seamlessly incorporating faith into her books.

Also this month, I’m taking a course from Writer University on pacing in novels. Mary Buckham (co-author with Dianna Love of Break into Fiction) is leading the class, and I’m finding it challenging and extremely helpful. I’m behind, but already I’ve seen how the beginnings of my current wip (historical mystery) and the revision of my amateur sleuth mystery can be redone to start the stories out at the right pace. Good stuff.

I’ve also taken courses from Writers Online Classes and Beau Monde and the Orange County RWA chapter. Usually they run about $30 for a month-long class, a little more for Masters classes. For various reasons, this is the first class I’ve taken online this year, but I’ve taken many over the past several years.

As for the impact on my writing and editing, I can’t begin to put a value on these classes—only that they are worth much more than I pay as far as the information and skills I’ve acquired as a result. Check out some of these places that offer classes in various formats and choose what looks best for you and your pocketbook.

Happy writing!

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