Not Like Other Skills…
This came from a fun conversation with other writers today at lunch.
When you learn something in fiction writing, you can’t just take that learning and apply it like learning how to fix a pipe or do something in Photoshop. I wish sometimes it worked that way, but alas it does not.
So when you learn something from a writing book, or another writer’s work, or a workshop like we teach, you must do your best to understand it while learning it, then go back to writing and forget what you learned.
That’s right, forget it.
When you learn something about a craft area of writing, your creative voice already knows how to do it because it has been reading and absorbing story for your entire life. But your critical voice suddenly understands that skill, so the critical voice gives the creative voice permission to use it.
That is how fiction writing is learned.
But the hard part is getting the critical voice out of the way. It wants to use that new skill and that will freeze you down faster than anything.
So assure the critical voice that in the coming writing, at some point, when that new skill is appropriate to use, it will be used, and get the critical voice to forget it. You will notice you are using the skill stories or books later, often when some reader points it out.
But if you let the critical voice try to write with it, the entire thing turns into a mess and often you stop writing until the critical voice lets go.
So constantly study writing fiction, study other writer’s work who are ahead of you, take classes and read books from people with experience. Learn details, then go back to writing and forget what you learned.
Your creative voice will not forget.