Live large, read more, think harder, write better
Writing is about living, reading, thinking and writing — and of course, learning by getting feedback. Hence the tagline of Unity in Writing.
In summary, we all learn to write by:
living — which generates content
reading — which innately teaches us the best that writing can be
writing — which is the only way to gain experience turning thoughts into words
studying – which accelerates us towards our writing goals as we learn from those who have succeeded
feedback — which gives us a ‘mirror’ in which to view our writing and understand how it is perceived by others — are we really transmitting what we want?
BECOMING YOUR OWN WRITING TEACHER
If you cycle through these five stages, iteratively, you ‘Become your own writing teacher‘.
You teach yourself to write through a constant cycle of reading, living, writing, studying, and getting feedback.
Reading is core to the writing life. Read extensively and voraciously and you’ll build your intuitive notion of what good writing “feels like.” You’ll learn what you like and what – for you – makes a good, great, or middling story. Reading is, and always will be, the foundation of great writing.
Natural born writers adhere to many of the norms of writing unconsciously, they know them intuitively. That said, great writers don’t pop out of the womb with knowledge of grammar conventions and majestic vocabularies. Rather, they absorbed all this naturally, usually at an early age, through a hunger for reading.
Unique content comes from living. You draw on your own experiences to make new connections, from the real and the made up. You need to think and observe how the world works to understand the details you need or the ones to deviate from to make something wholly new.
Then comes writing. Nothing replaces putting pen to paper as a teacher. Sheer practice is what it takes, page after page.
As you seek the best, clearest, and most creative ways to birth your thoughts into words, why not take advantage of the fact that so many others have gone before you? Study the writing and the writing advice of writers, and absorb the wisdom of those who trod the boards before you.
When reading writing advice, the trick is to figure out what applies to you. You will change too, of course. Reading the same piece at different times in your writing career can give you new insights as you gain your own experiences.
Finally, comes the heart-wrenching, highly gratifying step of getting feedback. You learn loads when you subject yourself to feedback. Critiques provide vital lessons in how your words meet the hearts of readers. Maybe the scene you thought was groundbreaking falls flat, or the slow scene you considered cutting moves a reader to tears.
Once you actively employ these five approaches to being a writer, you are driving the virtuous cycle of learning. Read, live, write, study, get feedback, live. Read, live, write, study, get feedback. Read, live, write, study, get feedback.
You’ve become your own teacher.
Your end goal is Unity in Writing.