Some things you never forget even when you don't do them every day. When I went to Nashville to speak at sales conference, I wanted to spoil my fiction girls a bit in celebration of 10 years with Thomas Nelson so I took them all out for pedicures on Thursday afternoon. It was soo fun! But we got to talking about colors, probably because we were all picking out nail colors. When they learned that one of my previous careers was as a color consultant, I had to go around and tell them what season they were. Some of them were easier than others, and I had to guess on Daisy and Jodi. Next time I go, I'll take my color drapes and figure it out for sure. But we laughed and talked LOUDLY for quite some time. I advised the girls what highlights might look good and what colors to wear. So fun!
When Ami, Katie, and I started to leave, another young woman not in our group stopped me and asked if I'd tell her what she was. She said she'd been waiting patiently until her turn. it was clear she thought I was an employee! I got tickled about that, but told her I'd be glad to tell her anyway. I had to give her the bad news that she was a winter (brown eyes and olive skin) and should get rid of the blond in her hair. I told her that the older she got, the worse the blond would look next to her skin. She was a great sport about it though and said she was due a trip to the hairdresser and would go back to her real hair color of dark brown.
When we left, I was struck at how easy it was to go right back to a skill I hadn't exercised in a while. But then I realized that I still notice when people are wearing the wrong hair color or makeup for their skin. It's ingrained now after all my training.
It's like writing. Certain skills become part of your "voice" as you progress as a writer. One part of my voice is a strong sense of place. That comes naturally to me when writing a scene. Another skill is intuitively knowing whose POV a scene should be written in. I try to write the scene in the POV of the person who has the most to lose by the resolution (or lack) of the conflict. And I never use semicolons! LOL It's part of my style sheet. But I'm always working on new skills to add so that they become part of my voice. One thing I'm working on right now is incorporating shorter scenes and not showing movement to a new place. I'm also working to make sure interior dialogue doesn't diffuse the tension in the scenes. When I'm finished learning those things, there will be a new skill to try to master.
What about you? What new skill are you working on? It might not be in writing but in another area of life.