Although I've always written it was not until I was in my thirties that I fell into writing. Discovering I was even good enough to become published. As well as writing I have always had that teaching gene and I was lucky enough to fall into teaching when I graduated University. However it was not until a few months ago that I combined the two and started to teach creative writing. Concerned I didn't know enough I began to read and research all things creative writing related. During this time I've discovered so much. A great example of this is the skill of using repetition in my children's picture book stories. I never knew there are so many ways to repeat yourself and each one has it's own name. For example:
Anaphora where you simply use a word or collection of words at the beginning of a sentence several times to give emphasis for example:
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
The same word is repeated for emphasis, here is another example from Winston Churchill:
“Never, never, never quit.”
As well as Anadiplosis:
Where you take the last word of the previous sentence and start the next sentence with this word, for example:
"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
(Yoda - Star Wars)
And that’s just three ways you can repeat yourself.
Now whilst researching I worked on a follow on title from my last picture book 'Dog Did It,' which has just been taken by my publisher. In it I used many of the tools I discovered and I'm convinced teaching has helped me become a better writer. Not only that, during this time I produced around 40,000 words of notes. This will soon become my first Kindle eBook (How To Write A Children's Picture Book).
This experience has convinced me more than ever you can never stop learning. So I intend to continue to read everything I can on creative writing, in the hopes I not only improve my own writing skills but also help others improve theirs.
So my advice if you want to improve your writing. Don't just practice, practice, practice also read, read, read!