The Critical Need for Thinking Deeply

Recently, some of the members of my writing group questioned why I continue to write for In Brief when it takes time away from my fiction. They argued that producing, polishing, and marketing novels is the most important thing I could do for my career as a writer. They were concerned about the amount of time I spent on my blog and suggested I work on cutting back or eliminating distractions. After some thought, I answered them as honestly as I could. I continue to maintain this public journal because it has helped me grow as a writer.

Not only have I gotten much better at writing more content into a shorter space, I am faster at producing that material. I am more efficient at editing and am growing better at articulating complex thoughts. Furthermore, talking about writer’s craft with the people who have commented on the blog or reached out to me through social media has helped me to improve my own abilities. But most of all, I have found that I need the time set aside each week to think deeply on writing.

While it is true that a rolling stone gathers no moss, its momentum also makes change unlikely. I believe that people tend to get stuck in a mental rut and too often fail to question their assumptions. They perpetuate what has always been done because it has been effective, but fail to wonder if there’s a better way. I’m no exception to that trend.

Recently, I’ve taken a few hours to go back over old manuscripts and have found patterns that have been detrimental to my prose and fiction. However, I rejoice. I love it when I look at old writing and find that it sucks. I am constantly competing with my past. Because I am able to identify problems and know how I’d fix those flaws now, I am gaining ground.

And so, I’m taking In Brief in a different direction with my seventh sequence. I intend to take a break from the hard topics I’ve been focused on since this blog’s creation and turn instead to the human element. I want to talk about changes I’ve seen in the publishing industry and in fandom. I’ll share my philosophies on stories, storycraft, and living the writer’s life. I’ll express the observations I’ve made and the things I’ve learned from both my peers and my mentors. In the process, I’ll do my best to learn something. I hope y’all enjoy the experience as much as I will.


6 Responses

  1. I totally want to do this, too. Take a prior work, read it, then rewrite it using what I hope are new and better skills.

  2. Sue Ranscht says:

    I would enjoy seeing how you would improve some of your past work. Might you choose one particularly needy paragraph and show it side-by-side with its newly re-written version while explaining how the changes make it better?

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