A few years ago I remember seeing a meme that featured two elderly ladies posing for a selfie in the bathroom. The caption read something like “When I’m this old my only skill will be taking selfies in the bathroom.” That meme struck a cord with me – because there was a lot of truth to it. I realized that I didn’t want to be one of the grannies in the future who can only take a selfie and nothing more. Note, I don’t take very good selfies.
So I decided to do something about that. I decided to learn to crochet. My mum had taught me how to crochet a chain years ago but I’d never progressed any further. So I went to YouTube and found a huge amount of videos devoted to crocheting. Pretty soon I was making beanies and blankets. Before I got to beanies and blankets, I had to get my head around the different stitches, different crochet hooks, different types of wool and then I had to learn to put it all together. My brain hurt for a few months. Now I’m still not the world’s best crocheter but I know more than enough to be make scarves, blankets and beanies. I love to learn new stitches and play with colors. So when I’m old i’ll be crocheting rather than taking selfies in the bathroom.
I also hope I’m still writing too when I’m gray and wrinkly. So what does this have to do with writing? Lots actually because the same learning applies to writing. I’ve said it previous posts that I don’t know how to plan a story. For me it was like jumbled words and concepts that I could not make sense of no matter how hard I tried. I felt like a idiot for more than two years. Then I found Lisa Cron’s book Story Genius and the lights started to turn on. They were dim at first but as I kept reading and rereading and going over the tasks at the end of each chapter, slowly the lights got brighter. I’m still going through the book and my head still hurts but not as bad anymore.
In fact I’m able to mentally start planning sections of the story (like Goals, Motivation and Character or GMC) now without tripping over myself and getting anxious because I don’t know how to do it. Learning is HARD but it also takes TIME! Be gentle on yourself, keep writing and keep learning. The lights will turn on at some point. That point is different for every writer because every writer is different.
What have you guys found about the learning process? I’d love to hear from you.