Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Learning Keeps You Young, or Busy – #amwriting

with 4 comments

I have realised this week that I am better at practical learning than book learning.

Readers of my Friday Fictioneer posts might know I recently started tap dancing. I didn’t dance as a child – I was too fat and my parents didn’t have the money to pay for lessons however much I pleaded to go to ballet classes with my best friend. Eighteen months ago I started Bollywood dancing and learnt that for year. It was lovely to move elegantly and learn more about Asian film music, but the classes ended.

I have always hankered to learn to tap, probably because of the noise and my imagining that it was easy to stamp around. It isn’t, and I am having to practise between lessons to keep up. I am a complete beginner compared to the others who are re-learning or have at least a term behind them. I am improving, but don’t imagine I will ever be fast enough. I have also taught myself basic crochet stitches and am about to attempt my first piece of clothing, albeit a relatively simple scarf.

However, my online Italian course, which I started last June, is languishing uncompleted. And I have pulled out of the writing MOOC I signed up to complete over the next 6-weeks because I don’t have the time to do it justice. The University of Iowa have run a number of writing MOOCs and I participated in How Writers Write Fiction 2014 and 2015, as well as How Writers Write Poetry 2014. They are professional and stretching courses, but post new classes on a Thursday and I am unable to keep up now work has become busier.

At tap, I have peers in front of whom I don’t wish to fail. With crochet I have physical evidence of my progress. However, with Italian there’s no one to practise with, and I’ve enough of my own writing to get on with without committing to more. So whether I’m better at the practical, or the things I enjoy most, is open to question.

How do people learn without peers, teachers, or projects to keep them on track?



Written by Sarah Ann

May 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Wow, you definitely are busy! I’ve always liked tap too but I’m not graceful (my family called me Grace as a child – as a joke). Learning is great and even if you don’t take you everything, you can be pleased with the fact that at least you tried. Not everyone (including me) can say that 🙂


    May 28, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    • Grace and I are also not too closely related, but I try, which does give me a sense of satisfaction, and it’s fun. Glad to see you here. I’ve been reading your posts and will comment soon.

      Sarah Ann

      May 30, 2017 at 11:08 pm

  2. Wow! You do have an eclectic range of interests. I’m impressed.

    Some things I like to learn from a book – these are usually the theory stuff. However, some things must be hands on. I also learn by watching, listening, feeling – and observe stuff that misses most people. This last trait I took for granted until in my teens, I realized that keen observation is not everyone’s forte. BTW, this helps with my writing.


    Eric Alagan

    July 11, 2017 at 12:00 am

    • Learning by observation is good, especially when people don’t know you’re observing. That one is especially useful for writers, and then asking questions. We have to be open to absorb from all sources.

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

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