October 24, 2013

Challenge Your Beliefs

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine 

Belly is a cement pig seated on my patio. Belly is a great companion, conversationalist and guard hog. Although Belly is made entirely of cement, he is no different from many of us. His mind is all mixed up and permanently set. There is no changing it. Don’t waste your time. He believes what he believes and that is that. 

Malcolm Gladwell is the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and his most recent work David and Goliath. Gladwell stated, “I write for people who are curious and don’t mind having their beliefs challenged.”  I enjoy his books and they do indeed challenge what society accepts as the norm. Obviously there is a market for people that like to be challenged.

As writers we should consider this direction. We tend to go with what we are comfortable with. We write about topics, characters and places we know and even stick to our beliefs a large part of the time. But what if you wrote from a standpoint where you challenge the very core of your beliefs. What if you set out to disprove your beliefs? Where would that lead you? Probably in a most unfamiliar place which would lead to research that is unimaginable. During the process we may learn something. We may even truly challenge our beliefs.     

I am not suggesting you set out to change your beliefs on politics, religion, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I am suggesting this is another direction to take in your writing. You may find this to be too uncomfortable for you. I can understand that but it may be worth a try. Now that I think of it, Belly has never challenged my beliefs. Maybe that is why I am so comfortable with him.

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