I graduated from an local area High School in 2003, and took several years of community college courses. In 2009, I decided to abandon my college education, as it just wasn't working out as well as I would like it to work. There may come a day where I continue my formal education, but for now I prefer to educate myself further using my writing's required research and with logic puzzles. I am TERRIBLE at logic puzzles.
I have won NaNoWriMo twice now and have taken away important lessons that cause me to become frustrated with people who say "I wanna write a novel!" and when told to go write claim "I have no time!"
Then I would suppose you might wish to make about thirty minutes a day and pound out as many words as you can manage. One hundred, five hundred, two thousand? It doesn't matter, you have THAT many more words than before. It really adds up.
Another thing that gets to me is "I have to be in the right mood or my writing isn't good." *does a faceplant*
What is the point of writing if you can't royally screw up a few scenes that you can edit later!? You'll want to edit later anyhow, unless you're like some folks I know.
Influences: I have some Tolkien, Ann McCaffrey, Madeline L'engle, and Tamora Pierce floating around in me. As well as Aldo Leopold, who's wit and charm inspire me endlessly. Margaret Ball is another one. The wisdom, wit and style of a dozen or more non-fiction authors have influenced me.
The general rule in my circle is, we pretend Soul can spell and use grammar to the fullest, and she'll pretend she's not annoyed by being disturbed when on a roll with a scene. :P <---favorite smilie!
I am also a believer in having some kind of explanation to magic other than "It is magic!" Same with technology. But I also believe that once you have found an explanation for magic in your universes, you are then capable of giving them advanced technology...unless your characters are the destructive sorts. Then I clearly advise you to avoid anything else that can blow things up.
Major motivation in writing: The story wants to be told, the characters WANT to be out there and meet new people. I wanna see fanfiction of my work some day no matter how terrible it is. It means someone cares. :P