WTF Was I Thinking?

Am I dogmatic? Sure looks that way sometimes. This or that discourse on the process of writing, filled with sturm and drang about “this is how that works” or “that is how that does not work,” and avoiding mistakes, and making the right mistakes…

While it hardly needs mentioning, I’m going to mention it anyway–when it comes to writing or most anything else, I don’t have the answers. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the questions. And “promotion”? Puh-lease. My canned response on any panel about authorly self-promotion is this: “Watch what I do very carefully, and then for the love of heaven do something else.” Whatever career I’ve put together has been mostly work, trial and error, and dumb luck. So just what is it I’m doing here?

Right. Like I know that either. But here’s the thing. Francis Bacon once had a set of dictums which, boiled down to their essence, were very simple–“You may believe you know what you think, but until you write it down, you don’t.”  That’s it in the proverbial nutshell. Write it down. Look at it. Does the notion in your head translate to words on a page or screen and still make any sense at all to you? That’s what I do here. I write down what I’m thinking about, and take a good look at it. When and if it looks like I’m hectoring you lot, the one I’m really going after is me. Is that what I really think about schedules? Does it still make sense? Leave it and come back. Maybe let other people look at it and decide if it makes sense for them. Think about something else. Write that down too.

If you believe that something I’ve posted here is nonsense, say so. You may be right. After some time and consideration I may even agree with you. But the one question I WILL know the answer to, always, is this: “WTF was I thinking?” The reason I’ll know is because I wrote it down. In front of witnesses, no less. For better or worse, I now own it.

Even if I don’t always agree with it.

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2 thoughts on “WTF Was I Thinking?

  1. I think Bacon was definitely on to something. Anything nebulous or contradictory practically shouts at you on the page. More than once I’ve written down what I thought was an insightful, considered opinion and realized it was full of holes.

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