I used to live within walking distance of a Barnes and Noble. That was dangerous. Fortunately I discovered if I walked a little farther I was also within walking distance of a library. (I've spent a lot of my life within walking distance of libraries. I am Lucky)
When I decided to get serious about writing I thought I had to have a degree that said I was qualified to write. This was silly to think but I live near Hamline and they have an MFA in Writing for Children so you can see where the confusion would come from. (I'm not saying anything bad about MFAs. If I had more money I would want one too.)
I am truly lucky to live in the same city as The Loft Literary Center. A wonderful place for writers to take classes and learn more about the craft. I take classes here but would often get discouraged if I couldn't find a class to fit my need/ interests.
If I couldn't take classes and didn't have a fancy degree then how could I write a book?
It turns out what I needed was something I'd had since I was in first grade. My library card.
I was no stranger to the library. I spent my teen years there since I was on the debate team. Besides books the library also had music. I loved my library's CD's. It was here I discovered The Replacements and other music that was awesome.
I started visiting my library again. Over the next couple years I checked out books from the Children's, middle grade and YA section. I also checked out books on writing. Every trip to the library I made my way back to the writing section for a new book. These books were free. This knowledge was free.
I didn't let the fact that I wasn't in class or couldn't afford to go back to school for an MFA stop me from learning.
I realized that there were a lot of opportunities for learning and I just had to grasp them. I joined SCBWI. I go to workshops. I read. I follow blogs. I read.(yeah I know I said that twice) I write. I visit my library. I follow blogs. I read. I embrace any opportunity I can to learn.
Library cards are more awesome than you can imagine. Go here to see all the awesome things you can do with your library card.
It's National Library Week this week. Celebrate by visiting your local library. They have more than books there. They have DVD's, music, magazines and puppets.
Did you know that more and more people are using libraries these days? At most libraries $25 buys a book. Support your library and the authors you love. Give to your library.