Writing on Wednesday: “What If?” … the Chance for Discovery

Lee MartinI’ve got a doctor appointment AND physical therapy this morning, so I’m going to “cheat” a little bit on this blog post. Actually, I’m just going to share two posts by my friend, the wonderful writer and teacher, Lee Martin:

“Ten Thoughts About Writing a Novel”

Here’s an excerpt from #8:

What if?… Often it’s best to take countless trips around my first idea. I’ve learned not to trust it. I’ve learned that something better exists beyond that first thought…. I’m open to whatever will work. But first I have to keep asking that question. What if?

This was helpful to me as I continue to work on novel revisions, especially as I respond to suggestions from an editor. As she suggests plots twist and turns that I hadn’t considered, she is helping me ask, “What if?”

“Ten Thoughts About Writing a Memoir”

Here’s an excerpt from #10:

Writing a memoir will change you…. [It will give you] a perspective that will offer you the chance for discovery and insight…. That’s the power of memoir. It sweeps you into the past and through to the future.



I’ve found this to be true in the two book-length memoirs I’ve written (but don’t plan to publish) and in many of the personal essays I’ve written (and published). They have changed me. Sometimes that change has come as healing. Other times it’s more of a broadened perspective on the events that have impacted my life. Either way, the change has been good.

Thanks, Lee, for these good thoughts!

To get regular “thoughts” from Lee (on writing, publishing and other stuff) subscribe to his blog, “The Least You Need to Know.”