I am always learning from my fellow writers. Just about everyday I read a blog post which makes me think about an aspect of my writing in a new way. And CPs and Betas reveal specifics about my writing so I can pin-point my weaknesses and research methods to work on them. I learn all sorts of new things before my work is ever seen by anyone else. Researching ideas, places, people, time periods, etc. for my manuscripts leads to new information in topics in nearly every field of study.
But, there are the less obvious ways in which writers learn too. All I have to do is keep my eyes and ears open while riding public transportation and I'll learn something new which might translate to a character or scene in my current work in progress. And then there's the life experiences. When I first moved to Germany, I decided to say yes to anything anyone asked me to do. Sure, I ended up spending significant amounts of time outside of my comfort zone, drinking copious amounts of coffee to get through the day-after at work, and generally spending more money on things I wasn't even sure I wanted to do than made sense. But, I learned so much - I learned things about myself, learned what it felt like to experience things I might not otherwise have experienced, and I learned that doing things that might not sound very "me" can be awesome, especially if I'm surrounded by amazing friends (which are so much easier to find when you give everyone a "test-run" by accepting any and all invitations to hang out).
I don't have a degree in literature, or English, or even anything remotely related to writing, but I don't really feel like I'm missing out on anything. Reading (awesome novels within and outside of what I write as well as craft novels) and writing and learning from other writers (published or not) has provided me with an amazing foundation and I'm excited to apply everything I learn to each new WiP. The only thing I would love to do which I haven't yet done is attend a writer's conference/workshop - preferably this one in Big Sur. :)
So what about you? How do you learn the things you need to learn in order to be the best writer you can be? And do you think it's important to have a writing-related degree?