The First Law of Writing is write.
It’s a phrase that is scattered about the internet, on blogs, top 10 lists, textbooks and writing courses. Everyone seems to agree: you learn to be a better writer by writing.
This always made perfect sense to me, since writing (in theory) is the same as any other skill. I learned how to customize model horses by just picking up a brush and going at it. I learned how to program in various computer languages by sitting down and using it to code cheap Zork-clones. I’ve always learn by doing, but I’ve been writing for an awfully long time…
When I started the daily snippits, the idea was that they would to help enhance my Muses’ ability to latch onto random tangents. The perfect defense against Writer’s Block! (In theory.)
There’s a groove out there that I’m trying to find. One where the Muses flit about like overly caffeinated kittens, hunting PlotBunnies over the wide and fruited plains. … Or, less dramatically: the ability to set a timer for ten minutes, sit down with a blank screen, and put to paper at least two hundred words of something.
Of course it’s a timed exercise, so the bits of something aren’t always worth keeping (or a sentence that ends up in the Story Prompts posts.) But the whole point to effort is that it’s a learning curve. I’m learning how to take a thought, an object, or a random bit of nothing and build a story out of it.
It’s not so much what I’m building –which is why you get were-hippo mafias and sentient vacuums– but that I’m building at all. (Although building good things is definitely the next step on my ‘learn to do’ list!)
Early on I tried to focus on writing each daily snippit with a completely new world and new ideas. If I wrote about giant robotic ‘dragons’ left over from millennial old terraforming one day, then the next day I’d write about talking cats. Or dogs. Or a werewolf with an affinity for Starbucks. Or more talking dogs.
Now I’m trying to deepen the groove, luring the Muses into working in the same universes I touched on before. I’ve learned how to do the basecoats, it’s time to start learning how to blend in the highlights and shadows…