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Learning = Earning
Friday, December 3, 2010 (All day)

I'm a continuing-education junkie.
I get excited when course calendars arrive in my mailbox, and I read them with a highlighter in hand. To me, they signal another year of opportunities to learn new stuff. I’ve taken several courses related to writing and editing, plus a few in public relations. Some of these helped me launch my career in magazines, but long after I got my first magazine job, I continued to sign up for classes.

Staying in school, so to speak, does your bottom line good – the more versatile you are, the less likely you are to have those dreaded dry spells in your freelancing business.

I encourage freelancers to explore classes, seminars and workshops offered by post-secondary schools, PWAC Toronto Chapter, other organizations and reputable independent instructors.

  • If you develop your knowledge of editing, you’ll better understand what editors do and what they want.
  • You can learn marketable skills such as copy editing, proofreading, fact-checking, indexing and speech writing.
  • Expand your writing to new subject areas, such as travel, food or sports.
  • Learn how to break into the corporate market, public relations or the book industry. Learn to design websites or take incredible photographs to sell alongside your writing.

Courses are generally taught by people working in the same field, so you can benefit from an insider’s point of view. You can also make valuable contacts among your fellow students. I’m still in touch with people I met in my Ryerson classes a decade ago – the magazine industry is small!Not every course I do is directly related to my field – I’m currently taking a series of fiction classes, and one of my all-time favourite classes was about vegetarian Indian cooking. (And if I could, I’d sign up for everything from printmaking to introductory Japanese.) The subjects are diverse, but everything I learn informs and colours my work as a writer and an editor.

Explore the possibilities, and make 2011 the year you invest in yourself.

- Jaclyn Law, VP Special Events/Networking

Comments

I agree that learning is

I agree that learning is important, as is earning. Generally, I tip the balance in the direction of earning! At the same time, every time you learn something new, it opens the opportunity to earn something some new way too. Learnign is partiularly important if you want to start a business or shift your business in a new direction, which happens. So learn with focus and purpose, I'd say.

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