Friday, May 03, 2013

Practise is POINTLESS

Good Morning

On another site, the usual "Well, no I haven't been published yet, but I'll see your approaching-500 publications and argue with you as if we are equally knowledgeable" turned up

Why are they always the most CERTAIN?

Said neophyte says "all you have to do is practise. "

Actually she said:

I already explained. You - practise, practise, practise. 

I replied 

practise, practise, practise. 
misses, the point, misses the point, misses the point. 

Misses the point!

Misses the point!

Then she grabbed some of the sand-pit sand and threw it at me and said I wasn't her friend and Jemma Evans diddun like me and neither did Tommy Davies and I had spots and my bottom smelled

Time for an adult conversation

HOW, when you practise do you improve? 

WHY, when you practise, do you improve? 

How do you practise in a way that story B is 
better than story A and story C is better again? 

Mindless practise is DUMB. 

Mindless practise is DANGEROUS


You can just as easily practise to
reinforce and concretise a BAD habit. 

That's why educators sometimes say 
you have to UN-learn something. 

Ever tried UN-learning a golf-swing "perfected" over ten years?


Let's say, for simplicity that speech tags other than said, used more than 1% of the time are known to be bad. 

Just presume it is so, OK? 

It's a grown-up argument.

Now let's say Writer V, joins a group. 

Say, it happens by chance that Writer V previously never uses tags other than said. He was accidentally doing it right.

But over his first 3 years of PRACTISE-PRACTISE-PRACTISE Writer V picks up the habit of excessive-tagging until eventually that bad habit is running in his blood. 

He has practise-practised-practised, and now he has internalised, compounded, turned-to-stone a piece of - a way of -


Unless someone spots this now-fixed-in-stone incorrect way of doing, she is DOOMED 

It isn't practise we need, but INFORMED practise. 

It isn't practise we need, but GUIDED practise. 

It isn't practise we need, but critically fed-back practise.

She might say, "Hone your craft, improve your writing. 

But I would answer HOW, just by chance, serendipity? 

Just write and it will happen? 

She might say, "Some writers have more natural talent than others."

I LOVE this.

When people say this they always imply the "I" 

They mean

"I am talented"

"I am special."

I am better than most other writers."

It's another fatuous, unprovable statement.

But even so, 

TALENT is the least important part of becoming a writer.

As long as you're not the opposite of talented, as long as you're not the writing-equivalent of a tone-deaf singer without a voice-box

word-blind, horribly stilted, a mind empty of ideas, you can always LEARN to write well 


Then she will say, 

"The best and the worst of us can always improve on the natural talent we have."

(my emphasis)

And there it is, that implied "*I*

*I* have more talent than the average.


And the self-perpetuating, self-destructive truism is complete.

Writer V is just simply saying, without any explanation of HOW or WHY that you can improve, just improve, will improve by doing lots of writing stuff. 


That's like saying,

"Kids can go to school aged, four and leave aged 18.

No teachers, just leave the kids to it and they will all end up with four A-stars at A-Level.

Go to a poor third-world country and ask,

"So how is that going?""

Look back at our history and ask of the lower classes,

"Read this."

And they will say, "What do you mean, READ?"

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