[REF: my comment on Zarah’s blog]
I’m of a mind that, like many endeavors, the process of learning to write is a spiral.
Learn -> apply -> review …
Hopefully, at each loop, one expands the spiral outward with the assembled knowledge and skill from the inner circles.
For writing, the complexity of the inner circles is limited: use proper grammar and spelling, use active voice, reduce the use of adverbs and dialog tags.
The further one gets from the center, the more nuanced the rules become — more like guidelines. Although the lessons become less specific, they become more challenging. One of those is finding one’s own voice.
What I find compelling about this visualization is that a spiral never ends: around and around we go, ever outward.
Lately, I’ve hardly written a thing: I’m in a wide curve, rounding from Review through Learn, approximately two-thousand hours from the center. (2000 on my way to 10k.)
This lull, I tell myself, is me digesting some of the more nuanced guidelines — like that of finding my own voice. That, as well as focus on the refinement of the writing itself. Story, not so much. Plot? Nope. Just the writing. The sound, the flow, the cadence.
Here’s some random exercises I’ve used to inch my way around the pivot-point: