Creative writing is a rewarding activity, no doubts about that. Sometimes however it’s also quite demanding. In fact, it’s an activity so complex and multifaceted that escapes any attempt to simplify it into an easily manageable model.
This is why I believe a holistic approach to creative writing can be effective in ways others approaches are not.
However, with this holistic approach to creative writing I’m not trying to ferry creative writing into any mysterious or rarefied realm. On the contrary, my suggestions are rooted deep in what we all innately tend to do.
I mean, just look at kids. When they want to learn something new, they approach the learning process from a holistic point of view. First of all, they observe someone else doing what they want to. Then they go on trying to put immediately into practice what they have just learned from observation.
Really, it’s a simple process repeated over and over. They observe. They try out the process in first person; get feedback; evaluate such feedback and then try again. Over and over, till they get it. Or decide otherwise.
Really, the difference between great performers and below average ones is often just in the amount of time each devotes to this process. Nowadays we call it deliberate practice. And we work according to its principles, aware of what it entails and why it works.
However, discovering and naming a principle has almost nothing to do with rules.
Indeed, the truth is that we humans can at best come up with sets of rules that at the first chance get as muddy and contradictory as possible. Instead, principles never waver–they represent the skeleton the universe uses to go around.
For example, a rule can be as arbitrary as stating that you cannot eat apples when it rains. A principle instead is something that, irrespective of your following it or not, is always true. Just think of gravity. You can disregard it. But your disregarding it doesn’t weaken it in the least. Continue reading