While writers may not have to spend years and years in school like doctors, lawyers, physical therapists or veterinarians, at times it feels like we do. The only difference is that instead of graduating with a master’s degree or PhD, we graduate with a book deal instead. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on how to survive as a writer in the “E-age” and how to go about writing, publishing and marketing a novel…successfully. Both books say that writers don’t absolutely have to earn a MFA degree, something that I’ve been loosely considering.

But now I’ve decided, I’m going back to school.

Rather than taking out students loans that will take me the rest of my life to pay back or visiting gorgeous campuses around the country, and planning a bus route to school, I’m going to home school. Writers have more educational tools than ever before right at their fingertips. A great deal of these resources are either free or affordable, and those that aren’t are usually/hopefully worth the price. We have a deluge (love that word) of blogs available that can teach us about writing, editing, querying, writing exercises, self-publishing, and how to build a platform. There are a variety of books available that reveal to us the mystery and the power of social media tools and how the writing world has changed. Right now I’m reading “How To Be A Writer In The E-Age…” and it’s made me excited about writing, reading, blogging and Twittering…which I going to start soon. There are also several websites dedicated to publishing markets, critiquing and rooting out shady agents and publishers.

What I’m getting at here is that you don’t have to be in school to go learn and advance your career. I thought that this was the perfect time to write this blog entry since school has started up. My plan is to make out a class schedule, assign myself homework and somehow either grade myself or have others grade me through critiques, acceptance letters or rejection letters. Maybe Mondays and Thursdays I’ll read up on how to write the perfect query letter, Tuesdays will be dedicated to writing short stories, Wednesdays will be editing stories and updating my blog, and Fridays will be writing exercises, reading educational blogs, or just outlining a story. I also plan on signing up for classes at local writers workshops. I’ll be learning, building my platform, hopefully getting a few things published, and learning more about the writing industry all without having to mail in transcripts or sending in letters of recommendation.

I guess now I’ve become one of those students who doesn’t know when they’ll graduate or feel as if they’ll spend the rest of their lives in school. But I really don’t mind it that much. It’ll be worth my while (hopefully), and when I finally do get a book deal, I’ll be that much more knowledgeable about the reality of being a published author. That’s much more desirable than being overjoyed and elated when I  find an agent to represent my book, find a publisher to publish my first book, and quit my day job only to have to pick it up again because I didn’t learn that one published book does not a successful author make. Hard truths are hard to swallow, but the pill isn’t so bitter when coated with an idea of just how hard that truth truly is.

Well, I guess I’ll go plan out this semester’s syllabus. I wonder who I’ll have first period with?

Take care out there.