Friday, September 23, 2011

Thoughtfulness

I was thinking, in part in response to a recent conversation on a writing forum, about how we as writers react to challenging or thought-provoking ideas. I've already noticed that some fellow writers react quite differently from how I do to articles about story construction or other writing advice kinds of essays. My initial reaction is, "Cool, someone's sharing some thoughts about writing. I wonder what I can learn from it." I don't always follow through and take those things I'd meant to learn to heart, but I try to be open, even if it might mean changing how I think about story structure or what kinds of things show up in my stories or whatever. It seems that some writers instead react negatively to that kind of thing, almost as if their initial thought is, "Ahhhh, someone's trying to tell me what to do. I just want to do it my own way."

There's definite value in finding what works for you and not blindly accepting what someone else suggests. I definitely agree with that. But I'll also strongly stand by the idea that the only way to grow is to keep challenging your assumptions, questioning what you've done, finding new ways to write (and new ways to think about story).

What really struck me was the umbrage one writer took when another said something about not trying to attack but to get us to think about the issue. The implication being, the first writer claimed, that everyone else hadn't thought about the issue. I can understand that as a knee-jerk reaction...but honestly, I don't care how many times I've thought about a thorny, tricky issue related to writing. I want to be challenged to think about it again. And each time I think about it, I'll come away reminded of what I've learned and challenged about things I've assumed...and my writing will be enriched because of it.

That's the thoughtfulness I want to have toward my writing (and politics, religion, science, justice...life in general).

1 comment:

Leslianne Wilder said...

Aw, I just saw this. Thank you for sharing your reaction :) You're an infinitely sweet man.