About Me

My photo
United Kingdom
I've been creative writing all my life, though with various haitus(es) along the way. IFrom 2010 I started this blog and enjoyed sharing writing and other information with everyone. illness and bereavement supplied the more recent hiatus.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Q: Quandary, Qualms and Quagmires

Just lately I'm in a quandry because I'm hearing lots of people saying that we shouldn't read How to books or go on writing courses we should just write, submit and write, submit some more until success drops on our doormat.

I have been on courses, attended workshops, read how to books and written and submitted stuff and I find value in all of those things from learning where I'm probably going wrong, to getting ideas for stimulating my writing creativity to gaining valuable feedback from others including professional authors and also invaluable practice.

I have no qualms about referring to how to books, as I don't believe they will make me write like everyone else and I do believe they will make me more aware of the important background stuff of stories.

So stepping out of the quagmire of what we all should be doing, I will say that I would still love to go on a writer's retreat and I would love to re-gain my energy for my writing sometime soon so that I can just write and write.

How about you?
Oh and check out Ellie's Quotes post, it's inspiring.


  1. Oh to be first! I'm with you Madeleine. I need all the how-to books in creation. We should always be learning. Maybe there'll come a time when we'll be writing how-to books ourselves and wouldn't it be sad if everyone had been convinced they didn't need them!


    L'Aussie Travel A-Z Challenge Posts

  2. I'm certain I wouldn't have sold a single story without studying Creative Writing with the Open University!

    I have heaps of how to books - which can make me a little dizzy at times. And different genres have different rules which makes me equally dizzy.

    I tend to write what I want to write letting the creativity flow - so to speak - and then go back and edit later.

  3. I'm OCD when it comes to how-to writing books - I have dozens of them! And I would luuvvv to go on a writer's retreat.

    I say do whatever works for you!

    Ellie Garratt

  4. I think there's a danger in reading too many 'how-to' books and articles, mainly because there's so much conflicting advice out there. You can end up tying yourself in knots if you tried to follow it all.

  5. Oh I cannot recomment highly enough attending a writing course or three!! I love them! I've been to a few and they've not only envigorated my writerly enthusiasm but they've made me dream of one day studying Creative Writing as my MA! Oh one day!!!

    A lovely writerly retreat in Tuscany would be nice too! :-) Take care

  6. I would love to attend a writing course or retreat someday. I think there's value in leaving the comfort of your writing chair and exposing yourself to new techniques and physically communicating with like-minded people.

  7. I think we all learn by different means. I don't read the how to books, but I do frequent a writing site with many published/award-winning authors, and the things I've learned there are priceless.

  8. I've only been on one writer's workshop but I found it fun and helpful. I think we all do need to read some advice on writing - especially for, e.g. Womag, or we may just keep submitting things and unwittingly breaking the same 'rules' each time!

  9. I don't think there's any right and wrong when learning to write. What works for one person might not work for another -- but one thing is for sure: you need to keep writing.

  10. A writing retreat sounds heavenly to me. I read how to books, take courses etc. I have found them all invaluable. But then I need all the help I can get!

  11. I think there's value in both points of view. But too much 'how-to' reading could be paralyzing, I think.

  12. Hi Madeleine .. they do say 'Do' and quit the non-action .. I guess it's keeping writing .. maybe varying the type ..

    The thought of a retreat on creative writing .. sounds wonderful! Just peace and bliss .. away from the madding crowd.

    Cheers Hilary

  13. Most of my "keeper" books are how-to or other nonfiction. Cook books, photography books, art books, writing books, etc. As for a writing retreat? Heaven!

  14. I think it's ALWAYS a great idea to continue to learn a craft you love by any means - books, blogs, workshops, retreats! I'm headed to a writing conference at the end of the month and I can't wait to see what it will teach me about writing! :)

  15. Really?!? Lately I've read (on tons of blogs) about all the great writing books I should check out!!!! (and I've really, really been meaning to) BUT if this is true, then super! I'm sooo lazy and I love the idea of writing with wreckless abandon. (LOL) Seriously, though, I think my writing would improve AND make revisions go more smoothly AND take less time! christy

  16. i think how to books are very helpful (and necessary). this is a great post filled with awesome q words!

  17. All the references to writer's retreats made me smile. I keep thinking of Tamara Drew too. LOL!

    Glad you all on the whole like the sound of how to books. Naturally one needs to pick out what they need creatively and not follow everything to the letter in a rigid way.

    Glad no-one's in a quandry about it, except perhaps Christy, maybe? ;O)

  18. I think any learning experience on writing is a great thing I would love to do some work shops tho I have never had the opportunity..... I think do what ever you feel the need to do for your own personal growth! =)


Comments with heart are worth their weight in gold. Thank you.
NB: Comments based on others comments can lead to misunderstandings.
COMMENTS now enabled and MAY BE MODERATED so may TAKE TIME TO APPEAR, Thank you.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.