The Doc Fix


Regularly updated articles on story structure and analysis; tips, thoughts and useful bits and pieces.

Jack of All Trades

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Very early on in life, I think we make a choice about being a specialist or generalist. Unfortunately being a generalist has always had an image problem. Jack of All Trades, Master of None has never been seen as a positive. Thank goodness for Wikipedia, to show me how off the mark that judgement can sometimes be - very soon after the term was coined.

The term was famously used by Robert Greene in his 1592 booklet Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit, in which he dismissively refers to actor-turned-playwright William Shakespeare with this term, the first published mention of the writer.

I’ve always been interested in very many things. This isn’t boasting; it didn’t mean that I was good or talented at all the things I’m interested in, it just means I’ve had a desire to explore them. I am not great at language learning at all, but I’m fascinated in the process (and the fact I couldn't 'get' languages put me on the path to make "The Language Master" with Michel Thomas, of which I'm very proud). As a kid I went to a school with a very good, and patient, music department. Up to the age of 14, I attempted to play piano, guitar, french horn, violin, viola, saxophone, mouth organ and harmonica. I stuck with guitar and piano, and have piano lessons now. What does that say about me? I used to think it wasn’t so great, now I believe the opposite.

There is a great value in being in interested in many things, without having to have expertise in all areas. Every intellectual journey can teach you something. And I think my fascination in so many areas has led me to uncover a technique of story telling that is universal.

The approach we use in The Doc Fix is grounded in a story theory which is based on the notion that a story is a representation of how a mind tackles a problem, independent of the subject. What this has meant for me is twofold. It means I can find a way to tell any story, if I find the subject matter interesting enough. But it has also given me the tools to help others tell their stories while not feeling the need to share their passion for the subject. My passion, when I'm teaching is to help others tell their own stories. I'm lucky to be able to pass that on.