I once told a mentor that I’d had an epiphany–to be a writer, you needed to know a lot about the world. And I believe this is true. As writers, we need to understand character in order to create ones that leap off the page. We need to understand nuances of place, so that our characters can inhabit those spaces. And maybe most of all, we need to have a firm grasp on how cause and effect works in the world, so that we can write compelling story arcs.
And yet, I’ve now amended my original epiphany. Yes, writers need to know a lot about the world. But more importantly, much more importantly, writers need to be open to more.
We need to be open to delving deeply into what we know.
We need to be open to discovering what we don’t know–whether that is the unknown depths within us or one of the many wonders of the world outside us.
We need to be amenable to having new experiences and not letting fear shut us down.
We need to be willing to be wrong once in a while.
We need to cultivate an attitude of humility about being right, when we are right, so as not to become hardened by our righteousness.
We need to be open to befriending the other, those who might be a little different than us.
We need, in other words, to be open to the world.
Most of the writers I know are like this. Which is why, I believe, that writers are the most fascinating people in the world.
Anything else I should add to the list of what we need to be open to? Leave a comment!