My biggest bugbear is that we encourage practice for literally every other art-form. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Artists will sketch every single day for practice. Musicians will practice every single day. Sculptors, photographers, composers, every single artist out there is encouraged to practice their art day in, day out…
Writers tell each other to sit back on their butts and wait for the muse to strike. We’re told that we just need to tell the stories in our hearts and magically readers will find them. Time and again we see the frankly terrible advice to just keep polishing the same novel for ten years until it’s perfect.
I don’t buy it. Writing is a form of art, and if you want to get good at art, you must practice. So practice writing. Every day. Write 500-word descriptions of random items on your desk (and don’t cop out at 300 - the exercise is to reach 500, or, conversely, to constrain yourself to only 500). Write love letters to imaginary distant lovers. Write sales pitches for made-up products. Write a science fiction story in 100 words. Write a historical in 1,000 words. Push yourself. Write outside your favoured genres. Read non-fiction extensively.
Practice, and refuse to listen to anyone who tells you to just wait for the muse to strike. The muse will verbally assault you once you’ve filled your brain with knowledge and skills. You won’t be able to shut your muse up