You can’t hope to improve, significantly, as a designer by merely practicing design. You’ll get better at Photoshop as you find your way around its hidden depths, your typography might creep forward with exposure to its challenges, you might have a natural grasp of colour, but progress will be slow unless you look further afield for your influences. Latching onto a sage-like mentor of some kind or bathing in the foamy mix of design history are hard to better.
Same goes for writing. Writing in isolation is unlikely to lead you along the twisty-turny, bramble-blocked path that the writer has to follow in order to hone his or her wordsmithery. Better to latch onto a sage-like mentor or bathe in the foamy mix of literary history.
Maybe, even, read a book about writing.
A friend of mine, clearly trying to tell me something, sent me Roy Peter Clarke’s book Writing Tools at Christmas. Never has a book sustained my interest so effectively. Juggling a few volumes on unconnected subjects, my pace through Writing Tools has been gentle. But that’s just heightened my enjoyment. I’ve been taking each chapter, each strategy, slowly. And with each comes a beautifully useful nugget of writing wisdom.
I’m a better writer for reading Writing Tools.