Writing Discussion

Leveling Up

Saw this on Twitter the other week and it got me thinking about the writing process. I’ve always adjusted the way I’ve written to fit with my life, but somehow I’ve always believed that eventually I’d figure it out and find what works best for me. On the other hand, deep down I know I still have an endless number of things to learn. It’s a weird contrast of thoughts, and it’s jarring my brain.

The main point of the tweet is that sitting down to do the work doesn’t alone mean progressing in craft. Butt in chair, and finish what you start, are only the beginning. Even writing a million words don’t mean mastery unless you’re actively seeking it.

Do you agree? Disagree? Think that it’s fine to relax once you’ve reached a certain point?

4 Comments

  1. I think that, for me, it’s not as simple as agree/disagree. For example, “Butt in chair, and finish what you start, are only the beginning.”

    Even that. Butt in chair: yes. Finish what you start? For some people, yes, for the discipline. But in general? There’s nothing dishonorable about dropping a stinker project to work on a better one.

    I’m not sure relax/don’t relax is the question either. I do think it’s important to challenge yourself. Robert Altman, my idol in many ways, spent the last decade or more of his career choosing movie projects based on looking to do things he’d never done before.

    But I’ve always had the idea he was pretty relaxed in how he went about it. An Altman set was supposed to be a very comfortable and pleasant working situation.

    I think “mastery” is for other people to worry about. Altman’s reaction to success and failure was pretty much the same: he made another movie.

    1. I don’t think it’s an agree-disagree either, which it’s why it’s interesting. I’m more on the side of moving on to the next project if the current isn’t working too.

  2. “Even writing a million words don’t mean mastery unless you’re actively seeking it.”

    Oh wow, yes. I never thought it out so concretely, but I completely agree. I hope to always challenge myself.

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