Becomming a Better Fiction Writer using Passive Learning

The single best way to improve your creative writing is to do lots of creative writing.

However, it can be hard to make time to write short stories, poems or even novels. That’s why you should include as much writing-related passive learning into your day as possible.

Passive learning is essential learning to do a task by performing other similar (yet not identical) tasks. For creative writing, passive learning is a bit like sneaking vegetables into a brownie – it won’t feel like you’re writing fiction, yet your fiction writing will improve.


This might seem confusing, so here’s a list of passive learning activities for creative writers:

  • Journalling what happened in your day
  • Proofreading a friend’s essay
  • Writing a blog post
  • Writing an essay
  • Jotting notes into a notebook
  • … and basically anything that involves writing

In essence, anything that involves putting words on a page (or improving words on a page!) will improve your creative writing; even though you’re not actually creatively writing.

Creative writing can be difficult. Passive writing is easier, just like it’s easier to take the steps in an office and use a standing desk as opposed to going to the gym for an hour. Obviously, the gym (creative writing’s equivalent) will make you better, faster. However, the passive option (taking the stairs / journalling about your day) will bring some improvements – and be way easier!

The more passive writing you can include in your day, the more you’ll improve as a writer. Just like the vegetables-in-the-brownie, passive writing is a great way to get into good writing habits.

What are your thoughts on passive learning and writing? Do you find that non-creative writing helps your creative writing? How much passive writing do you do right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially since this is something I’ve only recently taken onboard myself!


8 thoughts on “Becomming a Better Fiction Writer using Passive Learning

  1. Passive Learning! What I thought was wasting time and AVOIDING writing has a name!

    I do quite a bit of proofreading and beta-reading for friends every week, and it does help when I (eventually) turn my attention to my own writing. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to make you realise that you’re doing a better job than you thought :). Also, it’s great to know that giving to others (through beta reading, proofreading, etc.) improves your own writing ability!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Understanding (and Conquering!) the 4 Parts of Writer’s Block – Jed Herne: Writer

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