Time is a finite resource. I’m a busy person, and I think most of us are. There are only so many fragments of time in the day I can use for writing, but it takes time to become an expert at something.
10 years or a 1 million bad words have been thrown around around as measurements of expert proficiency. The problem with writing is, what counts as experience? I am not quite sure where I fall on the scale, how much I have behind me, and how far I still need to go.
Is there a way to cut down the learning time? To flatten out the learning curve? Maybe. I think focused/attentive learning can be helpful.
How can you apply focused learning?
When reading a book: Once you’re done, make a few notes on what particular attributes of the writing you enjoyed, what you didn’t care for, what elements stood out to you. Pay attention to the way the writer treats dialogue, ends chapters, begins chapters, or how the characters develop. Enjoy the read, but go back over it with your student hat after.
When writing: Every time you sit down to write, pick one or two writing elements to focus on or experiment with.
Introducing the Weekly Author Aerobics Challenges!
I’m going to give myself some homework, because I’m crazy like that, and start a weekly fiction challenge. I think of this as a basic mental aerobics class for fiction. You’re welcome to join in!
It’s all about focused learning, because I do not have a lot of free time, and you probably don’t either. There’s one rule: set a time limit. For me, it will be one lunch hour a week. When the time’s up, it’s up, and I’m not allowed to revise further (eek!).
I’ll post a writing prompt on Monday and post results on Friday. If you decide to join in feel free to post a link to the writing in the comments, or paste a story right in there.
I’m ready to get back into shape! One, two, three, that’s right, work those fingers! Are you game?