Education vs Experience

This’ll be fun. haha

So I’m all about balance. I want to be a good technical writer while also being a good storyteller. Lately I notice a lot of writers seem to be one or the other and it’s intriguing.

A lot of the self published writers I know and work with are really super creative. They have these original stories that I fall in love with, but the execution is a little off (Not you Dash, if you read this chill out. This is not for you). I LOVE reading so I don’t mind it, but these friends of mind often get discouraged by lagging sales and mediocre reviews.

On the flip side a couple of the best sellers I’ve been lucky enough to speak with (Pearson excluded cuz I love his work and he’s my writing Yoda) are great with translating words onto a page, but their stories are nothing special. It’s the same old shit told in another way.

What I want is to do both well. I want to be so creative and technically good that most readers can’t put my work down. I’ve had a few people say that about my recent novella By the Stars, which makes me wanna jump into the clouds. haha But I know I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be.

I have a friend here in St. Louis who I’ve known for years. He’s extremely talented and suggested I do an MFA. (I only have my AA, so that would mean a LOT of schooling)

I’ve been considering it, but everyone I’ve talked to who’s done an MFA say it made them hate writing. That’s the last thing I want. Not sure if it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

What strikes me, is how much I’ve learned from just getting published and working with different editors and writers. I didn’t set out to be a writer, it just kind of happened to me real fast, so I’ve been winging it. Thing is, I do my best to take every piece of advice I can and run with it. It’s worked so far.

Just going over things with my writing Yoda, who is a best selling author, I feel like an apprentice. We live in different countries so we don’t always keep up our correspondences, but the other writers I surround myself with help fill in the blanks when I need it.

This support system has done wonders for my writing. Trusting and sharing my talents (if you can call them that) to help others in order for them to help me, seems to be more encouraging than sitting in a classroom being taught by some teacher who probably missed their shot.

That’s not to say there aren’t college professors who are talented writers. My brother in law is an English professor and he’s doing things with his writing. But in general I’m not sold on spending thousands of dollars to learn some of the things I’m being taught by more seasoned authors as I go.

Education is very important to me, but you can educate yourself if you’re willing to set aside your pride and really listen. If you can’t do that, go back to school. But if you have the right mindset, work your way up through experience.

2 thoughts on “Education vs Experience

  1. Dave S. Koster says:

    In my experience, and this isn’t writing – but I feel it’s applicable, education helps with the fundamentals. Often, I find those with the appropriate education will be easier to train into a specific set of tasks. That said, there is no replacement for experience, nor do I consider folks with a specific education more suited to the work. I’d say take those thousands of dollars and spend them on conferences and networking. Keep looking for people who can help mentor you, offer you advice and discussion. I don’t have a writing mentor myself, but I have had mentors for other aspects of life, and they were far more valuable than any education I’ve ever paid for.

    You can study statistics for a year, but I promise you will learn more in a day of practical application. I wonder if writing is the same?

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