Learn by Doing

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Do not take my silence for absence. I have been more present in life and in my writing these past few weeks than I ever have. And it feels glorious.

Not that it isn’t without its frustrations. Please note my choice of photo to head this addition to the blog, as this has also been me these past few weeks. It wasn’t my first choice, I wanted a shot from Scrubs where Turk and J.D. were draining fluid from their patient’s stomach when Turk says “C’mon man, learn by doing!”

This was the best I could find.

My reasons for wanting this one scene shot? Because so far this month I have been learning by doing all over the place with this novel of mine. Which, by the by, has reached 12,000 words. Roughly 10,000 over any prior attempts at this one story. And what have I been learning?

First of all, all that lame advice I was so sure I was above and beyond? Well, maybe (absolutely) I am not so above and beyond it after all.

Reading to fuel your writing we’ve already covered here, but let me tell you it works wonders! I’ve read three books in the space of this month while writing, and I have not gotten burned out once since picking up this new habit. Plus, I have this nifty new confidence in my own words after reading Stephen King and his parrot that crows “Beans, beans, the magical fruit…”

After you read that, you cannot take your own writing so seriously ever again.

But it is the story, as usual with me, that I have learned the most about. The story I thought I knew so well, to the point I figured I could never write it because I was too involved and too bored with it, is teaching me things about itself and it’s characters that I could never see without writing it down.

Take my leading man for instance. I thought I had him pinned down with every facet of his being understood. Until I wrote a single paragraph this morning that suddenly hit me with a raison d’etre I never expected. Yet it makes perfect sense while giving him a depth he was lacking so far as I had written.

And I can see there being many more instances with this happening as I go, especially when my leading lady starts to take her place in the tale. A story that was so lifeless in my head is becoming something I can really get excited about. In turn, breathing a new life into me (corny as it sounds) that is driving me to finish it.

This is what I have been missing for these many years, the joy of writing I experienced as a child writing my lame first story on the carpet of my fourth-grade classroom. Which I was sure was gone forever with the bland stamp of adulthood I accepted when I began to take charge of my life.

But not really.

I hope, sincerely, that all of you out there find this joy too. Be it in writing, or whatever creative endeavor you choose. Because honestly, this is why I am still alive today.

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