There are a few things I’ve done lately to help build a writing practice. I started out finding a way to take in new information. After I got kinda “full up” on information I had to figure out another method. This article speaks about the “loading/dumping” of information that I hope will lead to a better craft.
Step 1: Loading up on information.
In this step, it’s pretty obvious what happens. I got to a variety of sources and I learn about how to write. My current favorite right now is masterclass, just because it has so many topics by people that are really at the top of their game. I like the idea of learning new things from top teachers. I think that’s what really sets Masterclass apart from other sources. Yes, you can get wonderful information, from top teachers, at other locations. However, you need to know which teachers are at the top of their game at first. Once you figure out a handful of top teachers, you then have a very limited amount of material from them. Many of these wonderful authors may have just put out one or two books on the subject. Once you’ve exhausted that source of information, you can ask for recommendations. From these recommendations you can gather perhaps a few more top teachers. However, even this eventually runs out. Soon, you’re stuck in this place where you don’t know if the other author really has the “proof” to what they say. That’s ultimately what you are looking for from a teacher. You want proof that what they are teaching is you going to be valid and worth studying. Everyone has something to say, but not everyone has an equal amount of sweat in what they’ve learned. Some people are just trying to say things to get others to listen. That’s not someone who is going to have a lot of life long lessons to learn. Enter Masterclass! You not only have a variety of wonderful teachers to look into, but you get a demo video at the beginning that gives you their style and credentials. That way you can view a variety of demo videos before settling on a worth while teacher. Once you’ve looked into gathering a bunch of information, the next step is to use it.
Step 2: Dumping the information
Right now I have a few different spots that I can dump information. This helps me gain the maximum capacity. After all, if you have a lot of material to work with, you’re going to need a lot of space. That means that you need to have a variety of organizational systems that will take in this knowledge and make it usable. My first step in this is to sort the kind of information. If it’s meta information (how to write) I may put it in that area. If it’s for a specific book, I’ll put it on the chapter list for that book. If it’s about a specific chapter of my book, I’ll add it to the header of the chapter. If the information isn’t about anything, but is still really cool, I’ll put it on the writing compost heap. That information will be picked through at a later day. The goal with any of this is to be able to take in information in a manner that you can use at a much later date. What I’ve found with this method is that I often need to fill in specific inspirational information or specific chapter information all the time. However, the compost heap and meta area (how to write) tend to fill up fairly quick. That means that I keep less information in the areas that fill up quick. I tend to keep more information in the areas that always need information. That’s how I build my capacity to hold information.