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What I Learned About My Writing in This Course

I’m not a naturally gifted writer. As the son of a teacher and an accountant, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue writing as a career. But after taking a writing course with Karen Russell, I realized that I had a lot to offer. Here are some of the things that I learned from this course that helped me become a better writer.

Master The Craft

As a beginner, you will never be able to create a competent manuscript if you don’t know how to use a needle. Unfortunately, most writing guides are very vague about the mechanics of writing, describing only the more general steps that you need to take in order to write a successful novel. What they fail to mention is how to actually use a needle to sew the words together. Mastering the mechanics of writing will take you a long way to becoming a competent author. Without a clear understanding of how your brain works when you write, it’s very difficult to explain exactly what you need to fix in your work. But once you do know how to use a needle, you’ll be able to take any manuscript that you have and fix it up so that it’s at least good enough to pass as an entry for a writing competition.

Take Risks

There are many dangers that you need to avoid while you’re writing a novel. One of the most famous is called writer’s block. If you want to become a competent author, you need to learn to embrace this dreaded condition. If you believe that you’ve run into writer’s block, then the best thing for you is to simply go ahead and write something completely different. In the moment that you feel that you’ve run out of ideas, it’s often because your mind has been wandering, and that’s where it needs to stay during the creative process. When this happens, you need to force yourself to come back to the task at hand and start writing again. This may take some time, but the results of your labors will far outweigh the effort that it takes to get into this state. When you’re in the habit of writing something different and seeing how it works out, you’ll be able to produce much better work in the future. In my opinion, this is one of the most underutilized tools that a writer can have.


Writing is a very, very difficult task. Just because you’re able to produce something on a notepad doesn’t mean that you can actually write something that’s worth publishing. The truth is that writing is a constant quest for precision. Every time that you sit down to write, you need to have a clear idea of exactly what you’re trying to say. This doesn’t mean that you have to produce perfect characters and plotlines however, it simply means that you have to be as precise as possible. It’s a lot easier to go back and fix something that you wrote than to start from scratch, and that’s what makes this practice so important. While you’re in the process of writing, you need to be vigilant about any mistakes that you make. If you want to see your work through to the end, you need to be willing to spend the time fixing it up until it’s perfect.

Examine Your Work In Progress

In order to write a successful novel, you need to have a clear sense of what you’ve written so far. While you’re writing, you need to keep a mental note of what you’ve done, and what remains to be done. This will not only help you keep track of the progress that you’re making, but it will also help you see the big picture. After you’ve written a couple of chapters, you may realize that you’ve created a story that will require a much longer book than you originally planned. In order to write that extra piece, you’ll have to go back and rework the earlier chapters in light of the new information that you have. This is a crucial step in the process, and it will help you make the most out of your existing material.

Know Thine Audience

One of the most important things that a writer needs to do is figure out who their audience is. In writing tutorials for beginners, this is commonly explained in terms of creating a story that will appeal to as many people as possible, but that’s not entirely correct. The truth is that you need to write something that will appeal to a specific audience, and there’s no point in writing for a general audience if you don’t know who will be reading your book. This is not an easy task, and it requires a lot of trial and error. It’s always a good idea to write something that you think that your target audience will like, but you also have to write something that you yourself would enjoy reading. In the end, you can’t please everyone, but you can please many people.