“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” — John Ruskin
Ever since I read The Talent Code, I’ve been trying to apply the theory of deliberate practice to improve my writing skills. It’s not easy to apply to writing, because writing requires a tricky combination of creative content and technical mastery.
Nevertheless, I’ve developed some guidelines to help me come up with exercises:
1. Identify a technique you want to work on, such as diction, syntax, character description, narrative transitions, etc.
2. Find some books, blog posts, videos, or other resources that discuss the technique.
3. Identify some writing pieces that demonstrate excellence in that area. You can look to your favorite writers for inspiration or seek out some new ones.
4. Use the resources and example writing to gain a thorough understanding of the technique. Break the technique down to simple components.
5. Research and brainstorm creative writing exercises that allow you to practice those components.
6. Complete the exercises in short, intense sessions. Write slowly, examine your words critically, and improve them.
7. Show your exercises to a writing partner, critique group, or beta reader. Tell them what you’re trying to achieve and ask for feedback.
8. Keep practicing and improving based on your self reflections and reader feedback. Becoming a good writer is a lifelong journey 🙂
I hope these points give you some insight into applying deliberate practice to writing. Next week, I’ll share an exercise I developed for expanding your vocabulary.