This got me thinking.
Fundamentally, of course, we mean that we Write. We sit down, day after day, applying butt to chair and fingers to keyboard - or pen to paper, if you prefer. We create people, places, events - and stories. In creating these stories, we use a vast variety of techniques and methods, some of us planning everything down to the last detail, some of us making it up as we go along. Neither of these methods is intrinsically good, and neither is intrinsically bad. Both have pros, and both have cons - the time sink of worldbuilding that the over-planner can fall into, and the horrible muddle of middle that can attack the pantster are good examples of cons.
Some times, we know exactly what we're doing. We know that we're doing this to create just the right level of tension, that to show character motivation, this to strengthen the structure...
And some times, we have no idea. We run on gut instinct, trusting our muse - or our subconscious, for those of you averse to the 'muse' concept - to get us through, to give us the magic and pull things together for us.
Both of these are, to some degree, a part of being a writer. But I fundamentally believe that the more you know about the technique of what you're doing - the how - the easier it is to do it. To use an analogy, writing is like baking a cake. You can throw it all together with a general understanding of what a house looks like, and what goes where, and come out with an okay result. You can follow a recipe that someone else made precisely, and be assured of a decent end product.
Or you can learn the technique behind the recipe, the why's and how's that make it work, and you can strike out on your own, covering territory that no one else has covered - you can be an individual, and you can shine. You shine, because you know the tools so well, you know when to use each, and when to use none.
You can write, hoping that you'll get through the end if you just string one event after the other - and you will. You can use someone else's method, copy what they do, how they plot and plan and write, and you'll get saleable work. But to shine - to really, truly shine - you have to know the rules and tools so well that you know when to use them, and when to invent a new tool of your own.
Like a master craftsmen, you bend existing tools to your needs, expanding their uses and abilities, and where nothing exists to do the job you need - you make a new tool.
You can only do this when you know what tools already exist.
If you don't know what a scene is, if you can't create a deep character or draw a conflict out of an event; if you can't tell a noun from a verb and your grammar is all which ways... Can you really be a master craftsman?