I’ve heard that the act of writing is like building muscles. How’s that work?
I’m delighted that someone has finally gotten around to asking me this question.
I am reasonably certain I could continue to write a piece lasting 20–30 thousand words or more trying to get at the heart of an answer to this question, dropping any number of semi-interested readers into a semi-conscious, soporific haze along the way. But let’s try to keep it short (and hopefully) sweet and still get it close to right.
The whole process of building muscle, how well and how much of it you can gain and maintain, is a chaotic, complex, multifaceted process which lends itself to all sorts of vagaries, inputs, avenues of development and defeat, disciplines, tacit fields of knowledge and so on, ad infinitum.
But leaving genetics out of it (in the literary world genetics might be considered the equivalent of talent), getting muscles is the systematic application of stress applied at the point of impact for a specific quantity of focused time and with a frequency required to obtain the effect desired.
The act of writing, at least for me:
Repetition, repetition, repetition.
works in this pretty similar vein.