Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Thoughts on Thoughtful Writing

While I haven’t received any negative reactions to my previous post on thoughtful writing, I did want to clarify a few things.

I got to thinking that some things I said may have come across as saying that some writers don’t deserved to be published, or even that “bad” writers get published. That’s not what I meant. No, as far as I’m concerned, the mere fact that a writer is published means he or she did something right. Certainly, anyone with a traditionally-published book under her belt is doing better than I.

Sure, there are different calibers of published writers, but it’s not so much a matter of good or bad as it is a matter of good, better and best. In my opinion, the best writers are the thoughtful ones, the writer’s who put time into thinking through their writing and then sitting down and crafting it to fit that thought. They are the writers who challenge and inspire us, who cause us to think new thoughts in new ways for the first time in our lives.

And that can be exhausting.

I don’t know about anyone else, but there are times I settle for less thoughtful writing that allows me to take a break from all the other work my brain has to do in a day. So, I might even go so far as to say that there is a place for less thoughtful writers. A couple of my favorite writers in the romance genre are in this category. Their books contain no great new thoughts, but I return to them again and again because they offer lighthearted entertainment in a writing style that I find appealing and easy to read. Also, while their work may not offer new insights into the human condition, they do offer characters and settings that begin to feel like a second home, a place where I am welcomed with a warm fire and a good tale no matter how long my absence or how short my stay. Yes, there’s a place for that in the world.

Nor am I claiming to be one of the “best” writers. I know I’m not the best. One of my great fears as a writer is that I’m not even good. That’s not reason to give up, though. That’s when the thoughtfulness kicks in, the drive to develop the craft and be better and better every day.

Maybe you and I will never be the “best” (or maybe we will!). If we thoughtfully strive for that goal, though, we may someday be the best possible version of ourselves. And I think that’s the best thing possible.

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