I am a fan of theory. I like figuring out how things work. But more importantly, my main enjoyment comes in applying that knowledge to my own creations.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson I often forget. I get caught up in learning and thinking to the point where I need to stop, close the Internet browser, and get back to writing. The craft comes first.
I strongly support education, and the world needs scholars, both official and unofficial. I’m just not sure I’m supposed to be former version.
However, when I forget the aforementioned lesson about theory, the letters “PhD” magically appear in my head and off I go looking into grad programs.
While being called “doctor” sounds appealing, I’ve adopted a practice-as-research approach to my own PhD. My desk is my classroom. My book purchases comprise my tuition. The best way to learn story is to write one after the other. After all, Harry Houdini didn’t earn his credentials at a fancy university. He became the world’s best escape artist by doing the work itself.
Every practitioner studies theory to a certain extent, of course. That’s a necessary component to escaping the handcuffs. It also places you in a position to create something new, resulting in generous applause if done well, because you are the craftsman, not the investigator.
So, would you rather be Houdini, or the guy who explained how his tricks were done?
For me, the question answers itself.