I've been writing in some form or other ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. So hopefully I've grown quite a bit as a writer over the years. Many things have helped - teachers, books, conferences, courses, other writers...
While I've had a lot of positive feedback on my writing, to grow I've had to gain, and apply, knowledge. To this end, I've taken classes at the community college level; completed The Institute of Children's Literature's "Special Publishing" course; attended conferences like Write! Canada, Packaging Your Imagination, etc.; and participated in one-off workshops like Donald Maass' The Fire in Fiction. I've done a lot of reading - the 'for pleasure' (and learning by osmosis) kind, and books that are on writing. The writers in my collective are a huge help as well, providing honest critique.
The key, though, I believe, is practice, practice, practice. If a tree falls in the forest, does it still make a sound? If a writer doesn't write, is s/he still a writer? And so I strive to make writing a habit. I blog; I prepare for writers' group meetings; I work on children's picture books, short stories for adults, and on my adult novel. Sometimes I even write poetry. I'll be the first to admit that if you graphed my attempts at disciplined writing, they'd resemble stock performances since 1934. But still I strive, and the overall movement is upward. The overall trend is growth and improvement.
I'll take it. How about you?
Please visit my website at www.susan-barclay.ca