Remember how frustrating it was learning to tie your shoelaces? I remember and liken it to learning to write better.
There are those who’ll simply tie your shoes for you. They’ll crunch down until you hear their knees crack and they’ll slip loops together, making it look seamless and easy. We’ll call these people editors.
There are those willing to show you how to tie your shoes even if it takes over a hundred tries. They model the action for you, hands busy with their own shoeslaces, hoping you’ll snag the appropriate steps as you witness. We’ll call this group mentors or authors of excellent books you’ve read.
Then there’s Velcro (or slip on shoes). The cop out. I don’t want to settle for Velcro. I’m not much of the formulaic, do it like she does it kind of writer. We’ll call this becoming an imitation writer.
When it came time for me to learn how to tie my shoes I studied, I concentrated…and I practiced. (And as with tying my shoeslaces, I did (and still do) my share of flubbing. I end up with floppy strings more than I care to admit.)
I’m a hands on learner. I can be reading six books at once, and though I happen to believe reading is an essential tool to help develop stronger writing skills, it’s actually sitting down to write that incites the most improvement. I’m in the 'I want to tie my own dang shoes' camp.
And now I’m all about the double knot.
What shoelace tying camp are you in? Do you see value in studying how others improve while establishing your own shoe tying groove?
*photo by flickr