Imitate. One of the best ways to learn how to do something is to imitate someone who does it well. There are so many great writers out there to imitate and emulate. Get some poems you like then write your own version. Read a short story and write your own version. Replace the details in your model with details that you are familiar with. Remember, however, that imitation is not copying someone’s work, changing a couple of words or names here and there, and passing it off as your own. That’s plagiarism and you don’t want to get caught doing that. One of my favourite imitation exercises is getting the witches’ brew rhyme from Shakespeare’s Macbeth then letting students think of someone they would like to create a potion for, whether a love potion or a curse, then write it. Try it. It’s fun.