I’m a very closed-minded, black-and-white person. I like having a set wayology of doing things I don’t like to deviate from. It makes sense that I really, really hate change.
So it should come as no surprise that when I hear of a new writing technique to try, I’m very skeptical about it. I have my own way of doing things, thank you. And my way is better.
Or so I think.
Time and time again, I’m constantly wrong about judging things before I try them. In summer of last year, my open-mindedness allowed me to change my writing and my writing life in ways I never imagined.
But why should you be open-minded about learning new writing techniques?
3. You Never Know Until You Do
You never know until you know! Wait, no, that’s not what I said. I was going off of Yoda’s very wise advice. There is no try. Only losers try. Winners do! But read that with the intention of “you never know until you try”.
Let’s face it. In most cases, you just don’t. You don’t know if writing faster, outlining, or creating character arcs are awesome things to do until you do them.
Who knows? You have nothing to lose but lack of experience.
I’m begging to be pinned. Just hover over me!
Last summer, I was introduced to something called plot structure. Now it sends excited chills down my spine and has taken my writing farther than I ever dreamed it could go.
So many amateurs dismiss plot structure without even trying, thinking the framework will limit their creativity. But if they would just do it and see for themselves, they’ll find a checklist for a seamless, gripping work of art that allows their creativity to skyrocket.
I only dabbled in outlining before I tried it. Now, I live and die by it. It’s erased writer’s block and put my mind at ease by giving sense to a whirlwind of ideas. I even outline my blog posts!
But I never would’ve been able to experience the joy of plot structure and outlining had I not been open-minded to just do it. I was willing to learn from authors who were more experienced than me. And, surprisingly, I was just humble enough to consider that hey, Miss Narcissist Me, maybe you don’t really know the best way to do this.
Which leads us to our next point.
2. Fools Hate Knowledge
Fools hate knowledge.
It’s foolish to refuse to learn from people who are more experienced than you. You can’t really learn from fellow dummies. Jesus said, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?”
I’m begging to be pinned. Just hover over me!
For the first seven years of my writing life, my writing buddies were fellow amateurs. And we didn’t wanna learn anything! We had fun doing what we were doing and we were doing it totally awesome, thank you. Our stories deserved Pulitzer prizes, for all we were concerned.
Pretty foolish, wouldn’t you say?
Don’t be a fool. We don’t know everything. I let my writing hang out in Amateurville for years before I actually learned a single thing about the craft of writing.
Learn new techniques. Grow your skill. You can only get more awesome from here, because:
3. Being Teachable Allows You to be Skyrocketable (Growable)
If you close off what you do and never let yourself learn, you’re always going to stay in that state. You’re never going to become more awesome.
Be teachable. Realize that we still have a lot to learn. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by that, but the more teachable you are, the more skyrocketable you are. ?
I learned what action beats are, what scene structure is, what motivation-reaction units are… and my scenes skyrocketed. And I’m not saying that to brag; old alpha readers from my first draft are now reading my fourth draft two years later and can attest to the difference.
I’m begging to be pinned. Just hover over me!
I’ve been able to grow because I’ve been able to learn.
Becoming open-minded changed my writing life forever. My stories have graduated from amateur descriptive dialog tags and one-dimensional characters to researched novels with plot and scene structure, better writing, and intriguing charries.**
It really is just as simple as being able to be taught… and to keep on writing. With every word you write and technique you apply, you’re getting better.
This week, I encourage you to be a sponge! Take time to learn more about the craft of whatever you do (probably writing, am I right?) from the masters and apply their techniques to yours. As K.M. Weiland says, “A gift that’s never developed wasn’t worth the giving.” Learn as much as you can and watch your skill level skyrocket!
What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned regarding writing? For me, hands-down, it’s plot and scene structure. ?
*explodes at the possibilities and dramaticness and tension and disaster and pure epicness of plot and scene structure*
**I’m not just shamelessly self-promoting my writings ? My amazing alpha readers are giving me feedback. They have witnessed it firsthand and can assure you; Madison Lorfing was never be able to grow until she was able to learn—and she’s still learning, thanks to their help.
Learning about plotting has changed my entire writing game. But from the sounds of it, I still have a lot to learn; you’ve mentioned several words I don’t recognise. (Maybe you could do posts on this stuff? ?)
Same here! I learned everything I know about plotting from K.M. Weiland’s writing craft books; I’m afraid there’s nothing I could write that would match that. ?
*clasps hands together*
Yep, Madison’s making me think about writing seriously again.
I’m not a writer, and I don’t really intend to be. Yes, I write stories, and yes, I read them, but writing is not one of the things that comes to my head when I wonder what I do with my life. (It comes eventually, just other stuff comes first.) But then there are people like you who make it look….fun?
IDK why I don’t consider myself a writer. I’ve written a lot, read a lot, and can make something cool if I give it time of day. I guess I just have never dabbled in any of the serious writer stuff – like plot structuring, character arcs, all that. I don’t usually like writing culture (outside of me and my friends, that is) so I don’t want to look it up.
Maybe you could….do some posts about it? Cuz I’d rather hear it from you?
what have i done.
Well, you run two blogs, right? You’re a non-fiction writer because you write blog posts!
WAIT. YOU DON’T CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER? BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE BEAUTIFUL STORIES OF YOURS? LIKE THE ONE ABOUT THE BALLLL? *cries*
What specifically do you want me to do a post on? How to figure out if writing is for you? I’m open to any and all post suggestions! XD
Hey that’s true! I guess I am a nonfiction writer too.
I write, but I’m not a writer. At least I don’t consider myself a writer. Maybe I don’t like the idea of relying on my writing.
I really would like a post on how to structure a novel. At least, the basics of it. I know it takes a lot more than just a post but maybe the basics?
Yeah, I understand. Like, I adore doodling and painting and drawing and art, but I wouldn’t consider myself an artist.
I could never write one as well as K.M. Weiland’s post series here, but it’s a great idea! I’ll definitely have to do it soon.
Awesome post! *reminds self to look at the drawing book she checked out* *also reminds self to work on WIPs* *realizes that they can’t really be considered that if she’s rarely working on them* *groans*
And yay for Yoda! I actually have sign for my wall with that quote on it!
XD I used to start a million WIPs too. And even now I have about ten short stories of scenes that come later in my series off on the side I work on sometimes while working on my bigger novel projects… XD
That’s so cool! It’s such a true quote. XD
“Do or do not, there is no try” That is seriously an amazing quote to include in an amazing post. Another thing I thought of was actually another one of Yoda’s teachings as failure is the greatest teacher. I think that kinda goes along with being open minded and welcome to criticism.
Thanks so much, Diamond! For sure — that is so true.
Guess what? I bought two of KM Weiland’s books, and borrowed the third, and I’m using them for my novel!! (she’s awesome I love her already). It’s so much fun, and I am quickly learning the truth of what you attest to. 🙂 If only one could trade Chemistry for writing. XD
Oh my gosh!!! *squeals for eternity* AHH, that makes me so excited!! I hope you have so much fun with everything!! HAHA, yes. XD
*squeals with you* I am so excited too!!!!! Thanks!
Love this so so much, Madi! I also have a SUPER black-and-white, one-way personality, so this is something I struggle with. I always feel stupid when someone tries to teach me something and expect myself to already know how to do it. But this post was really helpful and really amazing, too.
Thank you! 😀
Aww, thanks, Charis! SAME. ? I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks so much for commenting!
Awesome post, Madi! I’m pretty opened minded when it comes to other forms of writing, I’m just too lazy to try them. XD I do have my own wayology when it comes to organizing. I hate organizing with other people because their ways drive me crazy. I should probably work on that. ?
Thanks, Danielle! Haha, hey, at least you’re open to them. ? Same here! I think I like my own waylogy on everything better. O_o XD
Skyrocketable. ? ? ?
*innocently raises palms*
“I even outline my blog posts!”
It’s so much fun. I’ve had like six blog posts scheduled at one time ’cause I was able to batch-create content so quickly.
Goodness gracious. I…don’t know what to say.
I hope that’s a good thing.
Oh yes, it is. XD
I can be close-minded sometimes too, especially when it comes to outlining techniques and scene structure. Laziness is also a big issue for me. I just don’t wanna put in the effort! It’s so much easier to go on doing the things I’m already doing and hope they turn out okay. 😛 But you’re definitely right with everything in this post!! Thanks for posting some learning motivation that was much-needed! ??I can’t wait to put it in practice!
Putting in the effort is the other half the battle that’s always hard. Being lazy is way easier! ? Aww, thank you so much, Nicole! That means so much. Best of luck with everything! ?
THIS IS SUCH GOOD ADVICE THAT I NEED TO FOLLOW *bangs head against wall* I have a lot to learn… especially about plotting. I have started to branch out as in, actually knowing where I want the story to go and how it will end, but I need people like you to give me a push in the right direction. THANK YOU MADI YOU ARE AMAZING
DON’T WORRY HOPE I AM HERE FOR YOU. Hey, that is such a great step in the right direction! Knowing how your story will end up is one of the most important parts of plotting so you can continually build and foreshadow everything in your story to that point. AWW YOU ARE THE SWEETEST! YOU TOTALLY GOT THIS, HOPE. ❤️
I pinned everything! This was a great post!
??? YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MADE ME DO A HAPPY DANCE IN MY CHAIR. THANK YOU SO MUCH LISBETH!!
I’m already dreaming of a white Christmas, and it’s only March.
Of course, that means I’m singing White Christmas, since THERE’S NO SUCH THING IN FLORIDA. *Grumbles*
Right? ? I used to sing White Christmas and seriously CRY like legit TEARS RUNNING DOWN MY FACE because there’s no snow here. XD
I’ve gotten over it tho. ?
I totally agree with you! I think one of the most important steps of becoming a writer is learning to be taught! You can be as gifted as you want, but no one’s born with all the skills one needs to write/blog/whatever your chosen hobby/professional is … and you’re not expected to be! So get out there and learn!
The most recent thing I learned was actually action beats! Well, not action beats specifically – I’d being using them, of course; it’s not like my characters weren’t moving, lol – but using action beats instead of dialogue tags. I still love my dialogue tags, but I’ve gotten rid of them. It’s cleaner! (Also got rid of a ton of ellipses … ellipses are my favorite, but I don’t need them. 😛 )
Yes, that’s so important! For sure!
oh my goodness, aren’t action beats so much fun? It has definitely made my dialog way cleaner. XD GASP I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ELLIPSES BEFORE. ? XD
YES THEY ARE. I’m like, “Wait … I’ve been using these all along … and never known what they are … and not been using them a ton??? I MUST USE THEM AND USE THEM.” They’re so much fun. 😛
Haha, well, people keep saying things I don’t know/haven’t heard of, so you’re not alone. I just know them because people constantly say, “You used like fifty ellipses in that one page.” 😛
YES EXACTLY. They’re so awesome. XD
Phew. XD Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. XD
Amazing post! I totally agree that being open-minded will change your writing for the better! Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year? I started a cabin if you are interested! 🙂
Thank you so much, Sapphire! I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo, but aw man, I’m already in a cabin! It would’ve been so cool to be in a cabin with you though. What are you working on for Camp?
I just joined your cabin!!! XD See you there!
What cabin are you in, Madi?
I’m in a private cabin!
Okay! If I do it, I’ll demand an invite. XD
Ma’am, yes ma’am. XD
In case I decide to do it.
I tell you Madison, NOTHING has taught me more about preparation of plotting than this new novel venture. I believe God planted my story on my heart and at one point I even asked Him if I should quit! But through confirmation and meeting other authors like yourself, I am back at it again. I would love to hear more about structuring plot if you can make a post about it. I’m also coming with some organization tactics of my own, as well as character development. Nothing makes a story more 3-D than a well developed character.
That’s so amazing!! I’m so glad you got the confirmation you needed. I’m so excited to see what God will do through the story!
That’s a really great idea. I’ll definitely have to make a post on structuring and character development soon!
Hey, guys… I kinda need some help here. Madi and any random person scrolling through the comments. I’m at a loss of ideas… More details here: https://kirstyntodd.com/2018/03/09/listen-music-time-writer-help-meh-new-wip/
I think I need to check out this K M Weiland character that’s been mentioned – She sounds pretty awesome. For me, I’ve learned to not be afraid of criticism. Sometimes, I just need to take the leap and put myself out there (Easier said than done). I think back to my 10-year-old self, and the pride I felt when my book “Electro Girl” was selected for the city’s Young Authors recognition. I try to apply that sense of accomplishment to my writing now, although it’s a bit harder now, being an adult. Thanks for these awesome tips!
Oh my goodness, she is absolutely amazing. Her blog and writing craft books have totally changed my life! XD
Oh my gosh, congratulations on that award! That’s so epic. And thank you so much for reading!
I’ve already downloaded her podcast! I hope to go to the library next weekend and see if they have any of her books. Thank you for your blog!
YAY! I hope you find her stuff just as helpful! Aww, thank you for reading!
She is awesome! I’m adding several of her books to my Amazon wishlist. You’re welcome – You have a great blog!
Hurray!! And aww, thank you so much!
You’re so welcome! I love K.M.’s podcast, so much. Once I make it to the library again (I can only go on Saturdays since it closes before I get home from work), I’m definitely getting at least one of her books.
HURRAY! You are going to love her books! You can also read them for free if you review them — that’s what I did: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/become-a-wordplayer/
Oooooh! Awesome. Thanks for the tip. You rock!
Awww, you too!
This was great Madi, thank you for sharing what you’ve learned to help us learn too! 😀
Thanks so much Olivia!! 😀
[…] book a couple of weeks ago. I can’t even recognize it now. I slowed down and took time to actually learn more about the craft of writing and practice applying what I learned to other small […]