“1) In the late 80's and early 90's, I read all the University of Michigan Press Poets on Poetry series. In the volume by Robert Bly, Talking All Morning, he advised that if you want to learn to write, don't take a writing class, but, rather, apprentice under a master in a field you're passionate about. According to Bly, as an apprentice, you'll learn what it takes to become truly expert, and from there it's a relatively easy process to adapt those kinds of skills to writing. Bly went on to explain that the biggest benefit in working this way is that when you do turn to writing, you have fresh stories from the field in which you apprenticed, as well as an authentic vocabulary from that field.”
By learning new kinds of communication.
The first step is starting to understand that for each kind of music (bluegrass, honky tonk, Cajun, old timey fiddle tunes) there are common structures. Songs are “straight” or “crooked” based on whether or not they adhere closely or deviate from these structures. The next step is a numbering system in which the chords on a scale are given a number. So if I’m trying to explain a new song to someone I might say: “It’s in C and it’s a little crooked, there’s a quick 2 on the B part.” Translation: “We’re playing in C and while it’s going to go from C to F to C to G to C, on the chorus it’s going to go from C to F to C, quickly to D, back to C, up to G, and the C again.”
So much of it comes down to listening. (This is where I get to the point.) If you’re not listening carefully enough and not teaching your ear how to listen, you’ll throw everything off.
I think the goal for every writer should be to inspire the reader to read the work out loud. I’m sure we’ve all been there, when a book is too beautiful to be read silently, when the words beg for sound.