Freelance Writing 101: My first class

So I started graduate school.

Not really of course. I’m using an analogy.

All the necessary elements are here.  I’ve got a desk, a new computer, and a few writing assignments already on the syllabus. I’m penny-pinching, and I’m flexible but busy at the same time, waking when I want to, but working weird, long hours when necessary. Sounds a lot like school, right?

In that vein, I’ve decided to basically be my own professor and create my first semester of graduate school in the field of writing.  Perhaps you’ll join along on one, two, or all of my ventures? I’d love to have some other classmates.

my St. Simons Island classroom
Freelance Writing 101

1. Classic Reading
You can’t be a good writer unless you’ve read, like, everything. So I bought a kindle, and then perused tons of lists of classic must-read fiction and nonfiction, and decided first on the classic Russian 800-page epic “The Brothers Karamazov” (it was free on Kindle). Thankfully, my sweet friend Katherine offered to read it with me, and we’ve broken it into manageable chunks.  We’ll meet once a month to discuss parts I-IV, starting August 1. 
2. Writing Exercise
After beau coups of writing friends kept chatting up Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones,” I finally broke down and purchased it (while poolside last week, no less). Within the first few sentences, I knew it would be the perfect textbook. Exercises in free-writing are my first endeavor. This week, I’m setting a timer for 12 minutes, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and writing without ceasing. Next week, I’ll up the time to 15 minutes.  If anything share-worthy comes out of those exercises, I’ll let you know. 

3. Internship
After stalking down the editors of Native (which I told you about a few weeks ago), I’ve secured a position as the Assistant Editor (or Assistant to the Editor, I forget which one).  While it’s basically an internship, I’ve already learned so much from the head and managing editors, and hope to keep giving as much time as possible to the great things they are doing.  Editing will certainly make me a better writer—because I’m learning what flows and what doesn’t. 
4. Mentorship
Reading, writing, editing… and… well… this part is probably the most important: a mentor. Miraculously, I’ve been able to meet regularly with my friend Kim to talk about this whole new move. She’s currently learning the ins and outs of ghost writing, and I’m so thankful to learn about the process vicariously. We drink coffee. We’ve shared stories. We’re very different, but both so passionate about storytelling, and that’s what makes it fruitful.
So.
Would you enroll? If you were going to create your own grad school, what would it include? I really want to hear!
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Author: Claire

Hi I'm Claire. I am a freelance writer, Vizlsa lover, and avid runner who lives in Nashville, TN. Nice to meet you.

3 thoughts

  1. I just finished the great gatsby! It's AWESOME the second time around, and got me SO excited for the movie coming out in December. I'd also recommend Lord of the Flies. I had it on my shelf, and never really understood how disturbing it was until I read it as an adult. Thanks for stopping in! We should chat about Writing down the bones if you pick it up 🙂

  2. Love this idea! The main reason I started my blog was to practice writing, and I think it has been really helpful. It's easy to think that you're either good at writing or you're not, and there's no need for practice. But it's just like any other skill! I'm going to look into that writing book you are reading, sounds interesting. I've also purchased a lot of "classics" to read, I'm about to start The Great Gatsby for the first time since high school. Not to mention, super jealous of your internship at Native. That's so awesome how that happened.

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