At times I’ve wondered if going back to school was the right decision. I mean, couldn’t I have learned the writing craft by reading good books, by listening to webinars, by participating in virtual critique groups? Couldn’t I have done this on my own?
Maybe. But then I would have missed out on what is probably the most important benefit of being in school: People. More precisely, people with similar interests and goals. Yes, I’d met similar souls online on various message boards. But I never truly felt connected to a community of writers like I do now. Even us solitary types need coworkers to bounce ideas off of or to vent our frustrations to.
And school has also provided opportunitites I wouldn’t have otherwise had. For example, last spring I took a class on social media for which I had to write a paper that is going to become a chapter in a published book. I saw the proof yesterday, and I can tell you it’s inspirational to see your name printed at the top of each page destined to become part of a tangible product. This particular work won’t define me–it was, after all, first and foremost a class assignment. But it’s one more push forward, toward the career I want to have. And it’s a publishing credit I wouldn’t have sought on my own.
Just one more reason I’m glad I took on the challenge of becoming a student once again.