You’ve been writing now for some years. As your skills have improved, so your writing has become more fluid. When you sit down at the computer these days, the words spring almost unbidden to the screen. That last little story you wrote was actually quite… thrilling!
You feel that you’ve created a certain arena of competence within which you’re in control. You’ve mastered point of view, you’re capable of whipping up suspense at a moment’s notice, your dialogue is fluent and convincing.
It’s time, in short, to shake things up a little.
Take heed of a piece of advice that Vincent van Gogh gave his brother, Theo, in an impassioned letter he wrote on October 2, 1884.
“If one wants to be active,” van Gogh wrote, “one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think…
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