I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life. Other than my poetry book and one poem a magazine that’s the extent of my published efforts.
I’ve read hundreds of books on writing (I have a collection of about 400 books and audio and video). I’m not sure I’m any wiser or more competent at writing.
I’ve done degree level courses and workshops.
What I realise now that most of that time (thousands of hours) I have spent on the studying and thinking has essentially been wasted and I should have spent that time writing.
Some advice is necessary to help improve your skills but the practice of writing is primary. Don’t keep searching for a silver bullet of Holy Grail. There not in that advice.
Take a book like Stephen King’s On Writingor Blake Snyder’s Save the Catand run with that either until you exhaust the application of advice or you need something fresh. There are as many ways to write as there are writers and your job is to find, by writing, what your way is.
I have no knowledge of where you are in your writing journey. Perhaps you read lots of craft books, or maybe you’ve done a course or two. You might like the monthly writing magazines that appear in your local newsagent. The internet is also a vast source of writing information, some good, some not so good.
Then you also probably find that you do a small amount of writing. And everything is wrong. You’ve overloaded with too much info and lots of it is conflicting. But there is one sure fired way to get better at writing and that’s to find a model of writing you want to emulate because it’s good and then write like that and compare what you write to your model. Write, compare, and repeat. Do this often enough you will become better. It’s like learning anything. Want to play the guitar then practice appropriately and often with a good model and correct, and repeat.
Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool in their book PEAK Secrets from The New Science of Expertise on page 155 They outline how, without a teacher, Benjamin Franklin studied and emulated what he considered good writing by practicing and comparing his own work with his selected model from The Spectator magazine of his day.
So if you need a slogan, as we say in Scotland, then here it is:
My interests move from one thing to another seeking out meaning and stimulation. Reading, journaling, thinking, working – earning a “living” in a very conventional way. Forgetting and then remembering the activities that enthralled and raised one’s passion for life and the world.
I have returned to my writing after an extended absence. I hope to bring more here, soon.