I love learning. Always have. There was a time in my life when I thought I’d have the privilege of being a perpetual student (which is to say, a professor…). That didn’t turn out to be my career, but it hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my dream. I read. I travel. I listen. And wherever I am, I learn something.
I’m taking a course now on body language — how to read it, how to write it, how to use it to communicate more effectively. I’m definitely learning a lot. Experts on body language will read postures, gestures and facial expressions to understand what people are really saying, their hidden words. It can be fun to test out in the real world!
One of the things that struck me in this course on body language is how differently people learn. Some of us learn best by reading, others by listening, and others simply by doing — the old trial and error technique. I’m not surprised to hear that, but I’d never thought about how to apply that knowledge when I was teaching. I am now thinking very much about how to apply that knowledge when I am writing.
Writing is a skill, and while there is an art to it that perhaps cannot be learned, there is certainly a craft that can be. With each book I write, I strive to improve. Throughout the year, through the benefit of courses, conferences and workshops, I learn more about technique, style, character development. I practice, beyond what appears on the pages of my book. I write short stories, enter competitions, seek feedback from experts. Membership in organizations like the Sisters in Crime is invaluable.
I’ve always thought I was the type of person who learned best through reading. But as I write more, and work on my craft more, I realize that I also learn through doing. Practice and more practice, as they say. Of course, it doesn’t feel like practice when it’s something you love to do, does it?
I hope the work pays off, and that as my readers work their way through the books of my series, they find that each book is better than the one before.
More information about my books and links to online retailers can be found at janegorman.com.