Friday, 23 July 2010

You Can Always Learn

Another session at the Romantic Novelists Association Conference. I was a bit thrown when the speaker opened her talk on first lines by saying 'I don't know what you're doing here, Sarah. You must know all this already.'

I mumbled something about there always being something to learn, which probably sounded a bit smarmy, but it's true! I think you'd have to be incredibly arrogant to believe you couldn't learn anything more about writing.

I've been writing fiction for ten years. I've over four hundred 'how to write' books on my bookshelf and I've read them all several times, plus others I've got from the library or been lent. All had something to offer. I love going to creative writing classes as a student. This year, apart from the RNA conference, I've done one week-long course and one day course, and I've got another booked for later on in the summer. What could be nicer?

That's what's so fascinating about creative writing - every day another aspect presents itself, every day you learn something new. And if the writing ever palls, if the imagination is exhausted, well, there are always some new crisp pages of someone else's book to slip into. Reading, writing, learning. Reading, writing, learning. My personal trinity.

At last! I've got my finger out and have committed to running some day courses:
Writing a Novel - 31st July in Bath and 18th September in Truro
Getting a Novel Published - 1st August in Bath and 19th September in Truro
Contact me on for more info...


Cara Cooper said...

I agree with you totally Sarah. You can always keep learning. Not only that but the imagination is a strange thing. It's like a muscle, it needs to be constantly used. It also needs to be constantly fed, mainly by the act of writing itself but also by the act of reading, of learning and most of all living. Getting out there, meeting new people, seeing things from a different angle. I think that's one of the reasons why the RNA conference is so great - it encourages all those things. I've thanked you elsewhere for your talk at the conference, but thanks again. I'm still using lots of it now! You gave me food for thought indeed....

Sarah Duncan said...

Hi Cara, you're so right about the imagination being like a muscle - you can write your way out of trouble. And glad the conference talk is still being useful.