This post is less about writing mechanics and concepts and more about living the writer’s life.
In order to truly understand certain things we must be willing to discuss them. Pride and bigotry are two things a writer absolutely cannot have. We are biased by nature to prefer our efforts in literature above others, but there should be a humility among even the most acclaimed an accredited authors that allows them to realize they lack full wisdom and understanding in all things.
The greatest attribute of a writer is knowledge; it should be the goal of every aspiring author to pursue knowledge for the expansion of their mind. No one trusts what you have to say if they find your words lack wisdom and credit: both are gained through knowledge.
Contrary to what scholars and theologians might suggest, conversation ranks higher for the absorption and harvesting of knowledge than instruction, formal education, and even reading and other self-initiated attempts to learn. Conversation with the wise and the foolish, the simple and the confounding, the old and the young is the highest form of amassing wisdom.
Why Should You Believe Me?
I can say that, and it sounds right because that I’m writing this implies two things:
- I have something to say
- I know what I’m talking about
Both of those assumptions could easily be flawed or outright falsehoods, but they are forced perspectives. Rather than let you believe me simply because it’s logical to do so because I’m the one writing a blog post and you’re the one reading it, I’m going to explain my theory in full; and really, it is only a theory and an opinion.
Conversation is the most useful tool for gaining knowledge because:
- Humans learn from experience, whether it is their own or others. Talking about your experiences or hearing about others gives you the knowledge of situation, the wisdom of choice, the information of location and circumstance, and a practical application of what occurs when all of them culminate.
- Humans regard opinions given in physical conversation over words on a page. We respect words people say because we can understand and hear their tones, inflections, their fervor and passion or callous and apathetic behavior. We learn from how they say things as much as what they say, if not more.
- Conversation is the only medium of learning that allows for two opposing or conflicting opinions to be expressed and observed. Formal education forbids this; instruction is intolerant to this; self-initiated studies are excluded from this. Only conversation spans the gamete of all sides and points of perspective even should they conflict with each other.
Knowledge comes from observing: things, people, behaviors, reactions, and the laws and nature of the world at large.
Know What You Know
Whatever the knowledge and by whatever means it was gained, prove it, and then stand upon it. Don’t doubt what you know, rather, depend upon it. As a writer, confidence is the muse of pride and the road to it as well. Not self-reliance, but self-confidence in the knowledge you have gained is paramount to the strength of your writing. Even if you are wrong, it is better to be confident in what you say than it is to be cautious.
Then, pair your confidence with humility and realize that if there is anything more you do not yet know… Well, first realize that there is more that you don’t know, and then admit that it takes more than you alone to discover it. Knowledge takes two. You and a friend, you and an instructor, you and a book, you and the world: knowledge takes two.
The observer is never a solo act; he is dependent upon the observed.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist