Struggling from Good to Great

Fans of this blog will know that I have recently been working to get my mind right when it comes to writing. To move from writing in a general way that fills up Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, to a place where I’m writing (and reading) in a more deliberate, focused way. I want to write something is enjoyed by many, not just me.

So because thoughts precede actions, I’m shifting how I think about reading to something I attack, break down, and puzzle over–to get pleasure not from simply passing the time reading and writing, but from figuring out exactly what separates bad writing from good and good from great. And with that knowledge, I can build and fashion stories that push myself and push my writing to a new level.

And once again, Myke Cole is pointing out helpful ideas. This time, he tweeted a link to author Kameron Hurley’s blog: a post titled, “Why Being ‘Good’ Isn’t Good Enough.” Moneyquote:

…we’re competing for readers’ time, and competition means you need to not only be good, but exceptional. You need to be the best. You need to tell exceptional stories in exceptional ways, or you need to be good and loud, so you can cut through the noise.

I’m not terribly good at being loud.

Which means I have to spend a [f*ck] of a lot more time working to be exceptional. It means you have to work harder. It means you need to be eight times as good as everyone else just to stand out. It sucks. It’s challenging. It can wear you down. But I handle this in the same why I did my old rejection slips:

“Just you wait. You’ll see.”

This reminded me of Cal Newport’s book SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU, which I reviewed here. I’ve been reviewing my notes on deliberate practice, figuring out ways to apply it to reading and writing.

And basically, it comes down to this. If I want this to be my career, that means work. Working harder to be better. Being unsatisfied with good. Wanting more, wanting greatness. And then working to make my stories as good as that desire. So back to work, everyone.

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