On Learning How to Do the Thing by Doing the Thing


I’ve been thinking a lot about process lately. The writing process, specifically, but process overall as well…

I came across this quote on one of my favorite blogs:

Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself.

The quote is by Jean Piaget, and Kleon referred to it in response to people asking him more about his own process. He argued that yes, he can tell you exactly how he does things — but he doesn’t want you to think that means you should also do things this exact same way.

Then I came across the same quote again in the same day on a website I was looking at for work (my day job is now doing social and content for a kids’ activity provider platform). This kids’ activity provider was a big proponent of learning through play. I don’t have kids yet, but I think I am a proponent of that as well.

There are many things I wish I’d known as a beginner writer (a topic I’d like to write a blog post on someday soon). But one of the most important ones is that I didn’t have to follow the advice of every writer out there, particularly all those “How to Write a Novel,” books. I’m not saying some of them weren’t helpful; I’m saying I am now firmly against the advice that says, “You need to do it this way, or you will fail.”

This goes for both writing and life.

Do what works for you. Forge your own path. Invent it yourself. Learn through play.

Learn how to do the thing by doing the thing.

Photo by Jevgenij Voronov on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “On Learning How to Do the Thing by Doing the Thing

  1. Such a good reminder! Sometimes the “how” binds me up in anxiety and drains all the fun out of writing. Just jumping can make for the best days where time just flies by. Can’t wait for that post! -xx


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