Saturday, December 24, 2011

Learning and Learning

Personal growth is a continual process, a lifetime process, and I hope I never stop finding ways to better myself. One of the best ways to do this is by looking for ways to feed my intellect.

Here are a few ways I keep learning:

Reading: It amazes me all the good books I was supposed to read in high school that I didn’t. A few years ago, I finally picked up The Great Gatsby. I read books by Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Turns out there was a reason we were supposed to do this reading, and I’m glad I finally did it. As a writer, I benefit immeasurably from reading the works of masters. I get a feel for their craft, the prism through which they view the world. Great writers are like English tutors for me, helping me fine tune my work.

Making mistakes: It’s a good feeling to get something right, but I probably learn more from the times I fail egregiously, whether it’s writing a clunky post for my blog, getting into a flame war when I could be getting online homework help, or tanking on a deadline. It generally leads to some sort of consequence and through the resulting pain, I grow.

Talking to the greats: I do this both professionally and personally. As a scribe, I love talking with older writers and seeing how they got to where they, the wisdom of their years. And personally, as someone who’s failed at romance more times than I’d care to admit, I finally started talking about a year ago to people who seemed like they were doing it right, asking them their secrets. It’s helped. Tutors of any kind are good.