So how does one learn to write articles, stories, and books that someone else might want to read? She gets help.
I turned to the Institute of Children's Literature. Now, please understand this was not a rash decision. I studied their website, scanned their reviews, asked questions, researched their instructors, and read blogs by writers who took their courses. Once I made the decision to approach them that old anxiety came back in full force. I had to take a writing aptitude test and PASS before they accepted me. (And, No--not everyone passes)
It took me three months to work up the courage to take the test, and when I finally sent it off, I was so sure I would fail that I did't tell anyone about it. Imagine my surprise when I received an invitation to take the course.
I have taken a multitude of educational courses over the years. Some were on-line and only required a few weeks to complete. Others were a little more time consuming and required hours upon hours of study. The Institute's course was different. While it required me to study, it also asked me to reach into the creative side of my brain and write. The difference was that I was not alone with my thoughts and books. I had a mentor! Someone who guided me through each lesson with a gentle hand, stiff criticisms, and real-life experience as a writer and author. My guide was Renee Heiss, author, writer, educator, and graduate of the Institute herself.
I can't begin to tell you how important it was to have someone I could talk to, and who actually believed I could become a writer. It was through her guidance that I outlined my book--The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West--and through her encouragement that I took on the Novel Writing Course as well. I cannot say enough about the course or about the wonderful things I learned. It was my scary first step toward becoming a writer, author, and blogger. If you are just starting out, do not be afraid to ask for help.