It's funny how the beliefs you grow up with are ones that stick with you, in spite of rhyme or reason. Like my refusal to use a Weed Eater. My mother ingrained the belief in me that the little string could slice my foot off. I cannot bring myself to use one, even though I've disregarded most of the other fears my mother tried to instill in me, LOL.
So I was curious what your foundational beliefs about art and writing are. What tenets influence your attitude and approach to writing?
Never waste a word.
I'm a bit clueless how I got this one, because it's largely unuseful. Mostly, I think it's because I started out getting paid by the word, and deleting a word felt like throwing away money, LOL. I remember my brilliant writer-friend, the only one I had at the time, used to believe this, and evidently she influenced me more than I realized.
Going into NaNo, I've got a couple of projects to do, but I want mostly to spend time writing self-indulgently. I want to experiment and push myself, creatively. Write outside my comfort zone. I don't care what I end up with.
Sadly, I've sold every story I've ever written, which is not a good thing. I need time to discover myself as a writer, I think. I doubt I'll come up with a novel, but I'm looking forward to writing whatever, anything. 50,000 gloriously wasted words if necessary.
"Is it too much to ask for a single month of creative playtime in return for all your labors? Don't you deserve a 30-day literary vacation? One where you set sail with 100,000 other adventurers and discover one of your great, unwritten novels?" ~Chris Baty, founder of NaNo
Everything is learnable.
I don't recall anyone talking much about talent in music school. Maybe it was the great unspoken pink elephant in the room. If it was, I was unaware it was there. f you think about it, the premise of conservatory is that they can teach you talent, that they can teach you to be a solid musician.
I believe most of "art" is skill, and a learnable skill at that. The trick is to find the way to learn the skill you seek.
In 90% of the truly talented students I have taught, their talent is an impediment to learning piano. Piano takes too much drilling, too much practicing, and the talented ones tend to be accustomed to riding on their talent. It's a strange thing.
Talent, in music, is mostly understanding the musical language, being able to speak and interpret it. I guess I've always assumed the same about writing. If you study the written form, learn how authors use and choose their words, make their story decisions, then you're on the road to talent.
I suppose, every time I see an author do anything, my first question is: How? Reading with a how is how I've learned most of what I've learned. And then I apply my new understanding until I can do it, too.
What about you? What are your foundational beliefs about writing? And how do you improve your writing skills? What methods do you use?