The Education of a Professional Student

Learning. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®When my grandfather predicted I would be a “professional student,” I think we both imagined me earning degree after degree and never really leaving academia. That image suited my quest for knowledge and my relentless curiosity well.

Yet, in the year meant to be between degrees, I moved to Seattle and fell in love with what life was teaching me. Since I had grown up in a very small town in Texas and had gone to a small college in Colorado, I had no real idea of the world outside of my books.

That year became more than 10 and I still haven’t earned anything beyond my Bachelor of Arts in Drama. But those 10 years taught me so much, including:

  • How to run a small business (two of them)
  • How make—and take responsibility for—really hard decisions
  • How to take risks to grow a business
  • How to sell and how not to sell
  • How to work with entrepreneurs
  • How to work within a global corporation

And most importantly, I learned that I want to pursue my writing above all else.

Since that realization, I’ve invested my free time and spare change in improving my ability to write. My efforts have included:

  • Reading countless books
  • Working with and learning from other copywriters
  • Taking online classes through MediaBistro
  • Building close relationships with writers who share thoughtful criticism and encourage each other in writing creative nonfiction

This month I’m attending the Copywriting Success Summit 2009: A Live Online Event. My goal is to grow my copywriting business and fill the pipeline with more ongoing work. Ultimately, I’d like to spend a little less time marketing and more time writing.

One thing is certain: my grandfather was right about me being a professional student. I will always love learning.

What about you? How do you keep your writing sharp? Have you read a book, article or blog or taken a class that you’d recommend to others? Please share!

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4 thoughts on “The Education of a Professional Student

  1. Wendy, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can certainly understand being leery, especially after some of the resources you turned to early on sent you down the wrong path! That must have been incredibly frustrating and very stressful. How do you decide what and/or who to trust now? Good luck with building your blog!

  2. I read anything I can get my hands on- articles, blogs, books, etc. The problem is, I’ve become leery about what I do read now. When I first started out in my writing career, I read some garbage books that sent me in the wrong direction and succeeded only in stressing me out.

    I started doing some more research and found that everything I was doing was pretty much wrong and everything you should be doing-I wasn’t doing. Now I’m pretty much playing catch up and only recently started a blog and am working on a site.

    Reading materials from those who have some sort of a track record has gotten me further then those books that promised a career if you did it their way. So, I think educating yourself is great, but you have to make sure you’re utilizing the right material or you could be wasting your time and money.

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