Writing a story is much like cooking your own recipe of your favorite dish. But only through trials and tribulations, aka the writing process, can you find what works for you personally and your wonderful unique taste buds.
For a while I had been an advocate of studying writing craft. Anything I could get my hands on, I wanted to learn - hungrily! However, amongst the noise I forgot my own voice. Which lead to a lot of wasted time. But everything happens for a reason. I guess I wouldn't be here writing this very post, if i hadn't discovered that? Which is to say that nothing is ever a waste of time. It's all a process of learning and growing.
Now I stand in the same boat as Roshani Chokshi and Phillip Pullman, that most writing advice should be ignored or at least taken with a pinch of salt. Because it is only through our individual path and journey, that we can find what works and what doesn't. There is no quick way about it. And yes that means the journey can be more isolating and scary then it already is. Because we cannot tell what is right from wrong. As Pullman also says, 'how do we know when a story isn't working?'
So, like walking in the dark, you must let your feet guide you. Feel out the stones and bumps and path beneath your feet. Trust yourself not to fall into a pot hole or off the cliff. You can take comfort in passers by with their own torch lights to guide them, but it is only when you get to the top of the hill that you truly see, and as the sun rises, look back at how far you have come.
Sending you love, hope & courage friend on finding your unique recipe.