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Ah, summer in Minnesota, the season of cool lakes, warm breezes, lush parks, and spectacular wildlife. But don’t just soak it all up; write about it. If you’ve been itching to try your hand (and talent) at writing and you live in Minnesota, you’re in luck. The best time of year to get started is right around the corner. Summer in Minnesota offers writing opportunities and ideas galore, plus you’ll have plenty of resources at your fingertips thanks to the state’s thriving writing community.

Ready to delve into a writing career? Make summer in Minnesota the time and place you begin. These three tips will help you get started:

Attend a Summer Class or Conference

Taking a class or attending a conference or workshop is a great way to learn the craft of writing, get some feedback, and practice your skills. The best part? You can find just about any type of class or conference in Minnesota during summer. Got a passion for Christian writing? Check out the Northwestern Christian Writers Conference at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul in July. Interested in writing poetry, science fiction, or memoir? Head over to the Loft Literary Center, where you’ll find plenty of writing class pickings. Young writers can enroll in Hamline University’s Young Writers Workshop in June. Or, check out your local community education program for a list of summer writing courses nearby.

Write Outside—or Lakeside

Embarking on a writing career begins with an interest in writing—and a lot of doing it. The great Minnesota outdoors has all the venues you need to inspire your creativity, especially during summer. Grab your writing materials and head to your favorite spot outside—a shaded park bench, beneath a tall oak, or nestled in the backyard hammock. For some extra inspiration, seek out one of the state’s many lakes. You’d be surprised at all the ideas that can pop into your head when out on the lake, sitting near one, or just researching the history and beauty of a Minnesota lake. Not only that, lakes bring on a sense of calm and serenity that can unclutter the mind and get your creativity flowing.

Connect with Minnesota Writers

While there’s a vast network of authors and writers in Minnesota, getting connected takes diligence. Start by contacting writing organizations that interest you and consider joining a local or regional chapter. Many organizations host meetings or summertime events and provide opportunities to meet new writer friends and learn the ropes of writing. You might also look into joining a Minnesota writing meetup, where you can connect with like-minded writers and attend gatherings or critique groups. For something less formal, network with Minnesota writers through social media and plan some fun summertime meetups of your own. Summer is an ideal time to get around town and make friends with other writers, when the weather is at its best.

There’s no time like the now to get started as a writer in Minnesota. Take advantage of the summer season and all the potential it holds, and watch your writing career blossom and flourish.

Image by Pete Markham

 

 

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book-92771_640Fall is back-to-school time for many young people, but you don’t have to be young or a student to take a class. In fact, anyone can benefit from classes, no matter what the subject. That’s especially true for writers. Taking a class on art or health or business can give writers new knowledge on a topic they may have never before explored. And that new knowledge can lead to valuable expertise—and a new avenue for their writing. No matter where you live, there are plenty of places that offer classes—libraries, writing centers, universities, historical societies, and many other private and nonprofit organizations. Minnesota writers have a slew of opportunities available statewide. Here are a few worthy options to consider:

  1. University of Minnesota’s LearningLife Program. The Learning Life Program at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Continuing Education offers learning opportunities that include short classes, weekly seminars, and one-day immersions. Class subjects range from art and design to to science and the environment. There is usually a course fee, but prices are reasonable—from $15 to $160.
  2. Whole foods co-op classes.  Check with your local whole foods co-op for a listing of classes on a variety of health, cooking, and nutrition courses. These courses provide insight into healthy living and offer many hands-on opportunities for learning. Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, for example, has a variety of courses for both members and nonmembers, from gardening classes to gluten-free eating. Class size is usually limited, so be sure to enroll early.
  3. Hennepin County Library courses. Any county library will likely have a range of classes for adults on many topics, but the Hennepin County Library has an extensive listing. Depending on which library within the Hennepin County Library system you choose, classes cover everything from art to languages to knitting. Most library classes are free and open to the public.
  4. Science Museum of Minnesota’s Computer Education Center. The Science Museum of Minnesota offers over 200 courses in 80+ computer-related subjects through its Computer Education Center. If you want to learn basic computer skills, how to be effective with social media, or something more specific or complex, like JavaScript or PhotoShop, check out this listing of learning possibilities.

Along with the changing leaves, fall is a great time to switch gears. Take a class, and learn something new. You may not become an expert on the subject with just one class, but you will gain valuable knowledge that you can apply to your writing. And who knows? It may open up a whole new chapter in your writing life.