• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Are You a Student?

https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-Indie... 300w, https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-Indie... 600w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
A few months ago, my husband and I attended a tour of architecturally significant homes in Sarasota, Florida. Inside the residences, we were left to explore and discover their treasures for ourselves. The experience was heightened by the presence of local artisans at work. For people who love real estate and art, it was a gift inside a gift. Open the door to the mid-century modern home on Siesta Key and you would be greeted first by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a mangrove-lined creek followed by the hunger-inducing aroma of roasted tomatoes and garlic curated by a local Italian chef working quietly in the expansive gourmet kitchen. Step across the threshold of the new construction two-story downtown, and you would find homemade cookies and watercolor paintings among the straight lines and concrete.
My favorite was Higel House, the sprawling waterfront estate once owned by the town’s former mayor. Inside, a century of mystery and history were preserved within the home’s pecky cypress walls. Outside, the bay breeze stirred the leaves of ancient banyan trees. Tucked beneath their shade, plein air painters dabbed their brushes from palette to canvas.
I’ve always wanted to paint “en plein air,” but I don’t like the idea of people peeking over my shoulder at my work in progress the same way I peeked over the shoulders of these artists. Curious how they had come by this opportunity to paint in such an idyllic setting, I asked one of the artists if they were, by chance, a group of students. It seemed like a harmless question.
It wasn’t.
Her head jerked back and her nostrils flared. “I’m not a student.” She practically spat the word.
My cheeks flushed, rivaling the crimson on her palette. “So, you’re a master?” I blurted before I could stop myself.
She paused, paintbrush midair. Her eyes slid towards mine. “No. I’m not a master.”
The unspoken question hung between us. If you’re not a student and you’re not a master, then what are you?
“I’m a professional,” she said, landing on the word with the decisiveness and finality of a brush stroke.
That awkward conversation has stayed with me for months. While I hadn’t intended to insult her, I couldn’t understand why she’d been so injured in the first place. What’s so bad about being a student? Aren’t we all students at different stages of our creative journeys?
student (noun): any person who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully.
– Dictionary.com
While I too am a “professional” in that I get paid to write and speak about my work, I also identify as a student because I believe there is infinite room for me to learn and grow. In fact, one of the reasons I love writing is because it allows me to be an eternal student. An explorer of the world. An investigator of the obscure. A thoughtful examiner of things I don’t fully understand. Being a student not only helps me refine my craft, it reveals new dimensions within myself, which, in turn, fuels my creativity and eventually translates to stories on the page.
Being a student doesn’t mean you have to be enrolled in a formal program of study. To me, it means being open to learning in all its forms. It can be self-directed or achieved by simply experiencing the world around you.
In addition to the writing and publishing goals I set each year, I also create my own “curriculum of creativity.” While some of the learning experiences I seek are on the subject of writing and publishing, many support my creative vision indirectly—either by expanding my understanding of a subject I’m writing about or developing business and technical skills that make me a better publisher.
Over the years, I’ve tried numerous delivery formats. Here’s the mix I’m currently enjoying:

  • Podcasts are hotter than ever, and it seems iTunes, Stitcher, and iHeartRADIO have shows on every topic imaginable.
  • Audiobooks are finally enjoying their moment in the spotlight, and Audible is doing an incredible job producing high-quality original content.
  • Online courses are accessible and affordable, thanks to providers like LinkedIn Learning and The Great Courses.
  • Conferences tend to energize me. If you’ve never been to a Writer Unboxed UnConference, be sure to check out this year’s event, Escape to WUnderland.

Of course, the best learning comes from life itself. As I think back to my awkward conversation with the painter, I can see where the disconnect occurred. She mistook my question as a criticism of her talent, while I was simply curious how she had landed such a cool gig. It was a one-minute master class in psychology and communication. And though I won’t earn a degree for it, I walked away with an invaluable lesson: ask better questions.
What does being a student mean to you? What role does learning play in your creative journey?

About Erika LiodiceErika Liodice is an indie author and founder of Dreamspire Press, where she is dedicated to following her writing dream and inspiring other writers to follow theirs. She is the author of Empty Arms: A Novel and the children’s chapter book series High Flyers. She is also a contributor to Author In Progress, the Writer Unboxed team’s first anthology. To learn more about Erika and her work, visit erikaliodice.com.Web | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | More Posts

"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium."
Norbet Platt

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Fast fact about writing

By definition, the modern practice of history begins with written records; evidence of human culture without writing is the realm of prehistory.