Have you ever wondered about learning? How different people learn different ways? I recall, long (long) ago, when I was learning to ski, my boyfriend took me onto the snowy slopes and said, “Do this.” I couldn’t. It seemed I needed to learn differently. I wanted to know how my shins felt against the front of the boots, where my hands were supposed to be, what to do with my poles, and how to bend my knees. He couldn’t tech that way. We all learn differently.
Unless, of course, you’re a writer. I believe writers are made in the womb, rolling gently in fluid and imagining what comes next. Learning came to us when we first opened our eyes, first screamed our distaste for the harsh, cold world, first felt warmth, heard voices, dreamed. Writers start early, long before we learned to walk we learned to see what we want, how we want, and create a reality around everything we didn’t understand.
As toddlers, we learned to tell stories, well, okay, we learned to lie. The word “no” was essential to this process. We didn’t do it. We didn’t need to go to the potty. We didn’t want to eat those green mushy peas. A few years later, the lies became more elaborate. The dog broke the pretty figurine. The chocolate fell out of the drawer. Our sister ate the donuts. Our little brother smeared paint on the wall. Lying became a way of life, especially in the fifth grade when teacher requested that we write a story. Wow, suddenly this lying thing was a good thing, and if the fire caught, we wrote, and wrote, and are still writing.
The imagination is our playground. While other people balance their checkbooks and make grocery lists, we stroll the produce aisle and create a complete background story for the old woman wearing a royal purple coat and sniffing tomatoes. It just happens. We don’t mean to do it, but the lies keep building until Louise Schoonhoven, tomato lover and descendant of disgraced 15th century Dutch royalty, ends up accused of murder in your next book entitled Planting Tulips.
The general definition of lying is not telling the truth. But for writers, it isn’t about being false or dishonest. It’s just how we were born. It’s how we learn to be better and better at our craft, telling untrue stories, in other words, writing fiction.
This is learned behavior. Merriam-Webster defines learning as 1) the act or experience of one that learns. 2) knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study. And 3) modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (such as exposure to conditioning.) Wow, that’s a mouthful and most of it irritates us creative types. We don’t want to be reconditioned, we like ourselves just as we are. We don’t mind acquiring skills, but sometimes the training doesn’t stick. Does this mean easy learning is not in the cards for creative minds like ours?
Studies show that people need several levels if stimulus to actually learn anything. It all begins with desire. Do you want to learn what’s being taught? If so, you’re way ahead of the curve. In addition to desire for effective absorption of information, we need to hear, to see, and to interact with that information.
Look, we all take workshops all the time. Writing workshops, character development classes, plot development clinics, dialog improvement lessons, you name it, we’ve taken it. If it’s an online read-and-post-lesson workshop, it has a good chance of getting into our heads. But when trying to learn complicated things, we need a bit more … especially when looking into topics like MARKETING, PROMOTIONS, and PUBLICITY. We need to overcome the aversion to the subject, and learn quickly in order to see real sales results for those fabulous books we write.
I’ve been teaching workshops for over a decade, all those nasty topics we hate — marketing, promotions, and publicity. I’ve seen that retention of the techniques work best with as much interactions a possible, preferably when I’m speaking live. But how can we learn the hard stuff when the teacher can’t be standing right in front of us?
Easy. Seek out workshops that teach the way we learn. Workshops that take topics we fear and present them clearly and with audio, visual, and interactive elements that make it easier to remember. Below I’ve posted a workshop series I’m teaching at one of these powerful online locations, Short & Helpful Writers Workshops. I’m so excited to be part of this, seeing how they do it, knowing that more students would get what they need from my classes.
In the meantime, keep learning! Keep lying! Keep telling stories that move the readers! I’m here to help you create awareness and sales for those books.
Master AUTHOR MARKETING, presented the way we learn best … audio, visual, interactive! AUTHOR MARKETING FOR SUCCESS, 6 lessons, a year of coaching. Feb/March/April and Sept/Oct/Nov 2018. Online. Easy. Effective!