I haven’t been writing for very long. The first time I even attempted to write a story in my adult life was sometime in 2009. Through most of that time, I just went ahead and tried to write a story. That was it. I didn’t think about structure, or conflict, or anything. I just went ahead and did what I thought needed to be done. I went on instinct.
It turns out, you can do it that way. There are people who can just write a good story. I am not so sure I’m one of those people.
For the rest of us, there are lots of places to go to learn about these things. There are unlimited sources on the internet, many of which don’t cost you anything. You don’t even need to leave the house. Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds is a great one. He has terrific series of “25 things” posts about writing, ranging from specific advice about crafting your story, to work habits, to just general advice for writers. He also routinely has writing prompts and exercises to keep those writing muscles limber (see the last blog post before this one).
Another great source, and one I’ve not found an equal to, is the podcast Story Wonk Sunday. Lani and Alastair’s podcast has been around for as long as I have been writing, but I only just came across it last fall. Theirs is unique because it covers all story telling in its various forms. Not just novels, but also film, TV, even internet shows and video games. If it tells a story, then the “wonks” are all over it. I spent a good deal of time devouring their back catalog and have learned more about storytelling from them in a few months than I ever thought I’d know. I also leaned what a "wonk" is.
A "wonk" in its natural habitat.
Anyway, this is as much a pep talk for myself as it is an infodump. I haven’t written in several days on account of being sucked down the rabbit hole of World of Warcraft once again, but I am always thinking about story, and always working out the next thing in my head. Listening to podcasts and reading blogs about story keeps it in my head and helps me fill the reservoir.