“Do you want to study under the great teachers? Is that it?
Well, you can find them anywhere. They live on the shelves of your library; they live on the walls of museums; they live in recordings made decades ago. Your teachers don’t even need to be alive to educate you masterfully. No living writer has ever taught me more about plotting and characterization than Charles Dickens has taught me – and needless to say, I never met with him during office hours to discuss it. All I had to do in order to learn from Dickens, was to spend years privately studying his novels like they were holy scriptures, and then to practice like the devil on my own.
I was happy. I was a total nobody, and I was happy.
I saved my earnings and went on trips and took notes. I went to the pyramids of Mexico and took notes. I went on bus rides through the suburbs of New Jersey and took notes. I went to Eastern Europe and took notes. I went to parties and took notes. I went to Wyoming and worked as a trail cook on a ranch and took notes.”
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert