DIY Writing — How’s that going for you?

DIY — do-it-yourself. Is that the way you learn best? Me too.

I’ve been a DIY learner pretty much my whole life. One day when I was a toddler, I heard one of my mother’s teacher friends talking about my education. She mentioned the time—still some years off—when I would learn to count by twos.

“I can already count by twos!” I announced indignantly. And indeed I could. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, but once she named the skill I recognized the game I’d made up with my grandmother’s playing cards.

DIY
Hardanger altar cloth by me, photo by Nina Nicholson

Many years later, I bought something that looked like a counted cross-stitch pattern book and was working through one of the pieces when I encountered a stitch I couldn’t figure out. I went back to the store for advice and the proprietor said, “Oh, that’s probably in the beginners’ book.”

There’s a beginners’ book? I’d done it again—taken a skill that some people find impenetrable and taught it to myself.

For the record, it wasn’t counted cross-stitch; it’s a Norwegian craft called Hardanger. I made this altar cloth for my old church using the technique, which turns ordinary linen into something resembling lace. And, yep, I’ve still never had a lesson in my life.

DIY writing?

If you’re a DIY learner like I am, you may think that what you already know about writing is sufficient.

Well, is it?

Are you satisfied with the work you turn out, or do you secretly wish you could be a stronger, more consistent writer?

You don’t need the “beginners’ book.” You just need a nudge in the right direction. Someone to point out great writing techniques you may want to emulate. Analyses to get you reading more intentionally—reading like a writer

And because writing can so often slip to the bottom of the to-do list, maybe you’d like a reminder every now and then, a writing prompt to kickstart your creativity.

A DIY writing program

That’s exactly why I created The Weekly What—a yearlong DIY writing program.

Every week you get a writing prompt. Use it or save it for the proverbial rainy day. And every other week you also get my personal analysis of a piece of great writing: a speech, a magazine or newspaper article, a blog, an essay. (Full disclosure: there may be more than one piece about baseball.)

Read and absorb these at your leisure. And then join us once a month for a group discussion with your fellow Weekly What-ers. Swap insights about the analyses. Talk about how you’ve used the techniques in your own writing. There’s nothing as validating as hearing someone else struggle with the same challenges you’re facing.

I’ll be releasing the next cycle of The Weekly What starting on October 4th. But register by October 1st and you’ll get a half-hour private coaching session with me, absolutely free.

If do-it-yourself hasn’t done it for you yet, this may just be the extra support you need.


Also published on Medium.