Armed with a library card and internet connection, you can learn just about anything for free. So why pay for a writing course? The interaction with the instructor, your peers and the carefully chosen materials, as well as the deadlines, will help to speed the learning process along. Plus, you’ll have fun and start to cultivate a writing community.
When you approach a subject from different angles (activating the various learning styles:
visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary,) you’re more likely to understand and remember it. Participating in class discussions, listening to the instructor and spending time alone with the material are activities that work in tandem to help you to learn.
For writing memoir, it is particularly helpful to have new readers who are, at least initially, strangers. Friends who know your story will fill in the missing sections in your text; new readers can ask the right questions to ensure that your narrative is clear.
In my creative writing workshops, I encourage my students to form small workshop groups to continue setting deadlines and reading each other’s material after we’ve finished. Writing can be solitary business, but it doesn’t have to be. The encouragement to continue writing and the opportunity to read someone else’s work will keep you on track with your project and sharpen your editing skills.
If you’re looking for writing classes in the Washington, D.C., area, there are still spaces in my upcoming Politics and Prose memoir writing workshops and a two day political blogging continuing education course my husband Hans Noel and I are co-teaching at Georgetown University this June.