Action vs. Thinking

As National Novel Writing Month has ended, I’ve started to think about the balancing act that writers face in terms of action versus thinking.

In some ways, I’m definitely a woman of action. I’m intuitive and listen to my gut. If my heart tells me to jump, I usually jump. I made my decision to write books at a very young age–maybe 9 or 10. So one summer, with a big stretch of time, I decided to do it. I didn’t quite finish, but I did start a book. It was derivative and unoriginal, completely outside of my own experience. (I was only 11!)

Discipline and stick-to-it·ive·ness are definitely essential ingredients to completing a book. But for it to be good and relevant–those factors are harder to identify. I might have mentioned this before, but short story master NVM Gonzalez was looking out a window and his wife asked him what he was doing. “Writing,” he replied. Moments of solitude and thinking are essential for us (at least me) to dig deep in what we need to write. Here being older can really be an advantage as we’ve observed and experienced life for a long time. Don’t be afraid to shine a light in those dark places. Be curious and learning at all times; you never know how a certain detail will hit you in a unique way. If you are writing beyond yourself, know that you have to entertain, delight or entrance the reader while you reveal your musings. So thinking doesn’t just reveal content but also craft.



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