What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve your craft? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?

I actually did a writing course through the Australian College QED. I didn’t feel comfortable having other people read my writing, but I loved writing so I decided to get some help. I had Margaret Clarke as my tutor and she was a fantastic help. This course gave me the confidence to complete my stories and to let other people read my work. It also helped me to develop as a writer. There were lots of great examples, some of which I will include throughout this challenge. My first book Ghostnapped was originally drafted as one of these assignments. It has changed a lot since then, but it is fun to go back and see how far the story actually developed before it was published.

I also completed an editing and proofreading course through the Australian College QED. I did this to help strengthen the editing process of my own work, and for my job, where I have to write curriculum documents. This was a fantastic experience and I really learnt a lot, it is great to have the tutorials to go back to if I am editing one of my manuscripts. I feel this really helped me develop as an author.

In my job at Labs ‘n Life (more about that later) I enjoy working with my students to write about the dogs. We have written stories, profiles, poems, newsletter articles and together have learnt a lot of great literacy skills.

I believe being an author is really like anything else, there is always room for improvement. With each manuscript I feel more confident and I can also feel that I am developing an individual writing style. Hopefully one many children will enjoy reading.

The other thing I do once I have completed a manuscript and done a few edits is send it to another author for a critique. I have enjoyed having Sally Odgers (Affordable Assessments) provide me with clear and constructive criticism on all of my completed manuscripts. She is honest and insightful, which is a fantastic help. I have found this process brings new energy into my manuscripts, but it also reinforces what works well. Again it is all a part of becoming a better author.

Throughout my life I have played a lot of volleyball and one of the key themes for all of us was “better the ball”, I think I have brought this into all aspects of my life. Bringing up my kids, my work, my fitness training, my beautiful dogs and of course my writing. So essentially every time I do something I try to do it better than I did before. So hopefully in years to come as I get more books written everyone will be able to see my improvement as an author.