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A is for appropriate arrogance

June 27, 2012

So, one of the things I’ve seen around the blogosphere is alphabet blogging. That is, you go letter-by-letter and base a post around a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. It’s helpful when you need help generating ideas. It can also attract readers when you get to the Houdini-like efforts for finding words for letters like x and z.

Because there’s no cheap trick I won’t use to generate content, I figured doing the alphabet thing wouldn’t be bad. So starting today, and periodically, this blog will be brought to you by each letter of the alphabet, in order, but not necessarily on consecutive days. I’m also going to try to avoid obvious words like alphabet, writer, and quotations.

So A is for…arrogance–appropriate arrogance.

You are a writer. When you put words to paper or to the screen, it matters. When you create people and places and series of events from nothing more than your imagination, it matters. It’s not just some play thing you do when there’s nothing else to do. You are developing your abilities in a craft with a long, distinguished history from the beginning of time. Our most compelling narratives–the ones that move us to our greatest human successes and failings have been well-told stories or essays–ideas written large and memorable. From the Bible to the documents that encouraged the Revolutionary War to Hitler’s propaganda, great movement and countermovement came from written content.

Your story might not reach those heights, but it could inspire the next writer that hits those heights. Or it could be a valued keepsake of your life that adds to the richness of your family for generations to come. It’s worth your time and if your loved oned truly loved you, they’d make allowances for it.

You get to put it first sometimes.

But arrogance isn’t enough. You have to be appropriately humble, too. When you start writing, there’s a lot you don’t know about both the craft and the business. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to attend conferences and read writery blogs. You can learn about the business around your art.

There’s a lot to learn, especially with the recent changes in the industry.

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7 Comments
  1. June 27, 2012 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this, Chris. What a great idea to blog the alphabet. The abecedarium is also a lovely way to shape a creative nonfiction. Examples are Dinty Moore’s “Son of Mr. Green Jeans,” several great ones by William Boyd, and “My Brain on My Mind,” which appears in The American Scholar (and is by humble — or not …. me). Again thanks.

    • Chris Hamilton permalink
      June 27, 2012 7:36 pm

      I stole it from someone who stole it from someone who stole it from someone…lather, rinse, repeat. But thanks for reading and for the kind words.

  2. June 27, 2012 3:13 pm

    Hi Chris,

    As always, your messages are timely, and a wealth of information. I’ve been thinking of how to expand one of my food blogs. Now I have an A-Z page. Thank you very much.

    Happy Wednesday!

    • Chris Hamilton permalink
      June 27, 2012 7:37 pm

      Maureen, glad to hear it. Thanks very much!

  3. June 27, 2012 3:31 pm

    The alphabet writing prompt leaves me no excuse. But what I appreciate even more is your thoughtful comments endorsing the validity and value of putting pen to paper or words on the screen. thank you.

  4. June 27, 2012 3:33 pm

    I should have edited my comment! “What I appreciate even more are your thoughtful comments….

    • Chris Hamilton permalink
      June 27, 2012 7:37 pm

      Thanks, Lois!

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