Better at Writing Than You Were Yesterday

While reading ‘The Performance Cortex’ about motor skill and intelligence, it occurred to me that writing skill is also hard to define. And yet, there seems to be value in trying to lay these skills out so as to understand the landscape and also to develop a path to attain those skills. Here’s what I have so far:

What are the skills of writing?
-grammar of the language within which one is writing
-how to form a sentence
-how to build a paragraph
-an understanding of how to express an action
-an understanding of how to express an idea
-a theory of how to portray an emotion
-vocabulary pertaining to one’s subject matter
-the ability to maintain either a flow-state of composition (the choosing of words) or a diligence in filtering one’s consciousness to
-word/sentence/paragraph/story rhythm
-emotional valence
-story and archetype
-elements of story: character, setting, exposition, dialogue, conflict
and micro-elements of each element of story
-observation (in the real world)
-awareness of mental states separate from one’s own
-empathic skill
-the perceiving of various points of view (including authorial and reader)
-editing (while in composition)
-developmental / copy-edit / proofread -level editing

Clearly, this list is partial.

As hinted at above, I’m interested in developing a theory about how to improve as a writer across the next few years and decades. It seems evident that writing, for me, will be a lifelong journey (as it has been for many), and yet where possible I don’t want to over-flounder in the dark, but balance a shadow and light approach to improving the writing and storytelling.


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