Procedural/Tacit Knowledge (Knowing How)
Procedural/Tacit Knowledge pertains to knowing how to do something, even if you cannot exactly explain how you do it.
Sometimes you just know how to do something. Maybe it’s riding a bike, playing a musical instrument, driving a car, or speaking your native language. At some point, someone may have told you how to ride that bike, but you don’t remember what you were told. That muscle memory just comes with practice and its more nonverbal than verbal, more intuition or feeling than articulated thought. If asked by a bystander to explain how you do it, you’d have difficulty explaining how you do it. You’d probably say, “Hey, just get on the bike and give it a shot. It’s easier than it looks!”
A better example than bike riding might be your ability to speak your native language. If you grew up speaking English, you may not know the rules of grammar, but you can nonetheless speak English correctly.
So, the takeaway here is that nothing substitutes for practice–for trial and error.
As we mentioned above, we do think declarative knowledge about topics such as Collaboration, Editing, Focus, Genre, Information Literacy, Invention, Mindset, Organization, Research, Revision, Rhetoric, and Style can help you navigate these activities. Yet ultimately, nothing helps improve your writing as much as practice. At some point, you need to put the playbook down and get in the game.
Writing a lot, ideally daily, is vital to your development as a writer. Beyond writing, you need loads of critical feedback. The tougher the feedback the better.