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Growing as a Writer
by Esther Susan Heller


How do writers grow? How can we keep improving, accepting new challenges, exploring new terrain? How do we prevent ourselves from slipping into a cozy, self satisfied, stagnation, where we are saying the same thing or using the same form over and over again?

And how do we know if we've unwittingly settled for a hidden plateau?

Ask yourself the following questions: Do I still feel excited by what I write? Am I discovering something new? Do I ever have trouble understanding what I've put down on paper? Do I ever feel I've failed as a writer?

If you've answered Yes to any of these questions, then you are probably heading in the right direction.

Moving forward, striving to develop the talents that G-d has given us, is an ongoing, perpetual task. There are many ways to achieve this. A few that come to mind: Staying in touch with your real feelings about what you write. Reading other writers' works that you like. Joining a writing group. Finding one other writer to share work and feedback with. Brushing up on basics such as grammar and vocabulary building. Trying to write in a new form or style or about a topic you've never written about before.

So experiment. Try something new in your writing. Watch out for those hidden plateaus. And keep growing as a writer.

Esther Susan Heller is a published author and the director of the Jewish Writing Institute.

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