A mission statement

I am currently a barely adequate writer of fiction. I would like to become as close to a master as I can get. This blog is a record of that attempt.

Specifically, I am setting the following five-year goals:

  • Make enough money from writing for a comfortable living
  • Attain at least niche or cult popularity
  • Attain critical respect (generally positive reviews of published works from the more respected media outlets)

These are not modest objectives. There is a significant probability that I will fail. But that I might fail is precisely the point: any criteria with clear success conditions must also clearly expose failure. I also don’t want to mentally adjust my goals down if the going gets tough. Also, I’m already just about good enough to get published, so I want to shoot for substantial improvement. Even if I fail, I want to fail better.

I’ve been meaning to start this blog for months now. Serendipitously, Brienne Strohl posted on Facebook about her own project which provides a nice framework for this one. A short excerpt:

I notice that there are few phenomenologically focused records of rationality training. In other words, there’s not a lot of highly transparent description of what it’s like *from the inside* to gain cognitive skills. I think this is a terrible situation and I want to rectify it.

This blog, then, is a record of my own reaching towards becoming a master writer. I’ll offer some retrospective ideas about what I’ve learned (I’m not exactly starting from scratch), but this blog is not about an accomplished artist teaching disciples, but a student fumbling his way through and offering insights into his own learning.

I have a vague idea of what this will entail. A few features I’m certain of: a miscellany of inspirations, case studies of aspects or excerpts of particular works and what they can teach us, reviews of books on writing and other pieces of writing advice, the nuts and bolts of writing as gleaned from experience, philosophical and psychological considerations, exploration of the mystical (for lack of a better word) side of writing, hopefully a step by step log of the creation of a story, and an attempt to develop a practical cognitive poetics (this is the most ambitious single part of this project, beyond the actual becoming a better writer; more on this soon).

I will assess my progress no later than a year from now. In the meantime, let’s get to it.


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