The other day, I came across this exposition by Dave Eggers on the topic of "selling out." He said a truckload of poignant things. But the thing that struck me the most was this quote - which is not even truly a quote, as I am paraphrasing and putting it into my own words:
It doesn't matter to me what people think of me. It's fashion, and I don't like fashion, because fashion does not matter
Many of you could probably write a passable bestseller every year if you were suddenly handed the loyal following of Stephen King or John Grisham or James Patterson. And that would work just fine for readers, I guess...because a "passable bestseller" is exactly what so many well-known authors give their readers each year.
But I think readers deserve more than this. I think readers deserve a writer's best.
Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.
Luke Raftl included that in a recent email to me. It was a quote from Hemingway.
I have long said (and incidentally, have long believed) that a thought cannot become complete until it is in some way articulated.
This is why I encourage every writer (and every thinker, and every person, for that matter) to keep a journal, and to write in it regularly. Even if you only begin by writing about "what you did" each day, your pen will often pull you beyond these familiar borders. As you express things on paper, this articulation of thoughts will broaden your perspective and increase your capacity for growth and change.
Yesterday, Paul Joseph posted a blog in which he touched on some of the reasons why he does not share his Writing World with most of those he knows, and these reasons had largely to do with the negativity that such sharing can allow in.
Two days ago, I realized that a blog I used to read every once in a while had shut down...because the author did not want people who she knew keeping up with her thoughts.