The headline to this post should probably be my koan and my mantra for the upcoming year. It causes me to consider one of the biggest risks that I think we as writers could fall into, which is a sense of complacency in our writing.
I come to this thought after reading a post in another blog where an agent describes one of her writers complianing that he hasn't had a book contract in more than six years. Apparently, he is a well published author and has written some books that received praise from the literary world. The agent asked him if he feels as if his writing is any good. He responds by saying it is as good as it always has been. Therein lies the rub. The agent tells him that the most likely reason for his lack of contracts has been his complacency as a writer. He hasn't strived to improve. Rather, he felt that he could continue in the same vein as he always has and that publishers would want to continue with that.
As writers we need to always remember that complacency is our greatest enemy because it will allow us to give up what is our most finite resource, which is time. It also means that we will have lost our way as artists and creative people because we are no longer in the game for the sake of planting the flower; of continually improving and striving--as Hemingway put it--to write that one true sentence. Another way to think of it, the act of writing isn't about the last sentence we wrote, but the next and continuing sentences.
I like talking about writing in terms of its most base elemnt, which is the sentence. If you get the sentences right, then the story and the book will follow suit. This is also something that I have forgotten about in the recent past: ergo the mantra "One True Sentence." If I want to achieve my definition of success as a writer (and by extension as a person) I need to get back into the act of continually working to improve, to fight off complacency and seek with each clack of the keyboard to write that one true sentence.
Causes James Buchanan Supports
Expanding health care in the US, ending war as a viable tool of foreign policy, and issues related to social justice in general.