As a writer, you should always be looking for ways to make your writing better, tighter, more creative, etc. Even producing a New York Times #1 Bestseller doesn’t mean you can breathe a sigh of relief and lie back to wait for the money to roll in. This means you have even more pressure from yourself and everyone else to do it again. What do you do, though, when you’re still trying to make it to the point of publication but you don’t have a lot of money to invest in training and out-of-town conferences? Mystery writer Elizabeth Spann has some tips.
In her blog post Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Writing, Elizabeth says “I was speaking to a lady the other day who is an aspiring author. She has been researching ways of improving her writing, but told me that everything seemed so expensive—the classes, the conferences, etc. It could be expensive to improve our writing, but it doesn’t have to be.” And she is absolutely right.
Elizabeth reminds authors to utilize your local library which should stock things like the most current Writer’s Market and numerous books on writing. Another good point is that it doesn’t matter when those books were written (with the exception of Writer’s Market, of course) because solid writing is solid writing no matter how long ago those tips were written. Other free ideas? Online resources like writer’s blogs and websites (if you’ve never stopped by Holly Lisle‘s site, do yourself a favor and go) and the feedback you can get from other writers and conscientious readers. This is really my favorite form of improvement–the thrill and the devastation of a really brutal edit. If you don’t know anyone who can offer this service to you there are sites that can help pair you with a beta reader or sites like Critique Circle where you can post your work for critiques in exchange for critiquing other people’s She also suggests reading. Get a library card and you have millions of books at your fingertips for the low, low cost of nothing (unless you’re forgetful and don’t return them on time). Or, to avoid late fees, most libraries will also loan out ebook copies of many titles. You can also download most of the classics that have gone out of copyright for free from sites like Project Gutenberg.
On the cheap there are also multiple options. Online classes offered through organizations like Romance Writers of America (classes which are not only about romance writing) are usually between $10-$40 and are available even if you’re not a member. Once you have a manuscript, you can also enter contents offered through RWA and other similar organizations. Entry fees are usually less than fifty dollars and winning could give you the edge you need in the quest for representation.
Also, it’s something to keep in mind that any money you spend on classes, membership fees, travel and hotel stay for conferences, research, reading material, etc is usually tax deductible. Keep your receipts and you may get a lot of the money you spend back when you file your taxes.