BioPicBlues Jan–nostalgic and wishing we could get together and chat about writing over a cup of tea or coffee.

Yesterday, I slid a package out from my mailbox at the end of the country road where I live. Inside, along with a couple of text books I ordered, was a book about writing nonfiction and understanding the editor’s perspective. Earlier today, I turned to another resource to look up a grammar tip. What was that rule about . . .?

After that, I read a few blogs I visit from time to time and read about writing and marketing. On a recent road trip, I listened to an entire track from a 2009 Mount Hermon conference on article writing and a few others on speaking.

I love to remain curious and learn new things generally, but I know I must when it comes to my writing. I’m guessing you know that too. After all, you stop by this blog to read the posts hoping to pick up something new and interesting.

How do we, as professionals, take it a couple steps beyond perusal to making it a part of what we know well and apply to our writing?

I’d like to offer one quick two-part tip for today:

Part 1: Plan to discover and learn at least one a new idea, tip, or technique about writing each day—something that answers a question that came up while you were writing or any that can apply to your current work-in-progress. Try turning this ‘learning’ into a habit by doing it at the same time each day, such as at the beginning or end of a writing session.

Part 2: You’ve seen those books that teach a writing principle and then offer a practice idea. If the practice isn’t already built into what you are learning, create an activity that is applicable to the writing you are doing that day. As you work it into what you are already doing, it’s very likely to make sense and be remembered for its application in all your future writing.

Happy learning, happy crafting!


A Plug for a Learning Opportunity:

Mount Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference is coming up this month. It’s not too late to sign-up and take advantage of one of the greatest learning opportunities you could have as a new or seasoned writer and speaker.

For those who are just beginning to dip your toes into the publishing waters, there is the Head Start Clinic that takes place the two days before the main conference. Small groups for the clinics offer personal attention to your writing. Fiction and nonfiction clinics available. Jan Kern is one of the nonfiction mentors for this year’s Head Start clinic.


Jan writes nonfiction from her home in the foothills of the California Sierras. She is currently working on more material for the teen/ya audience and for those who deeply care about them. She also enjoys life coaching and mentoring writers. Visit her site at

2 thoughts on “The Writer as Learner

April W Gardner

March 13, 2010 - 21 : 41 : 22

Thanks for the inspiration, Jan. I need to create more time for learning the craft.

Jan Kern

August 9, 2010 - 22 : 44 : 53

April, I hope you’ve had the opportunity to create that time and to see where God can help you make room for it.
His blessings!

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