All writers have different processes when it comes to creating their own stories. I have spent some time studying a variety of different writing resources – each offering differing advice on how to put together a “good” story.
While my writing has improved overall by learning from others, I am also very wary of becoming too caught up in this process. The reason for this is that writing, especially storytelling, is a creative process and should be treated as such. Bringing too much left brained thinking into the process of creating art will leave you with a lifeless story or even more likely no story at all. I know this because it is a trap I have been stuck in for years. I become so focused on getting the technical details right that I forget about the larger picture. I become so overwhelmed with the ways my writing is flawed that the act of writing turns into something utterly unenjoyable and I end up quitting.
On the other hand, it is probably not wise to reject learning about your craft completely. What learning from others does is allow you to save huge amounts of time by avoiding the pitfalls experienced by those who came before you. If you are not open to learning and are only focused on your own output, you will likely fall into many of these traps and your work will suffer from your ignorance. Eventually, you will still end up learning the same lessons from first hand experienced but the time it will have taken you to do this could have been avoided with slightly more research.
Like pretty much everything in life; it’s a balancing act. It has taken me years to figure this out but my current theory is that you should dedicate plenty of time to learn as much as you can about writing and storytelling while simultaneously taking EVERYTHING that you learn with a grain of salt. There are no absolutes.
Keep the advice, the concepts and the so called ‘rules’ in the back of your mind but never feel like you must stick to them. Use whatever it is that you feel fits naturally with your style of writing but never comprise your own style because of some rule you have read in a book or on a blog post. You know what works and you know what doesn’t. Stick to your educated intuition and you’ll be ok, kid.
Also published on Medium.