Dialectics in Writing

Today I want to discuss dialectics. No, not dianetics, ha ha. I first heard about dialectics when I learned skills from Marsha Linehan’s “Dialectical Behavior Therapy” to use as a psychologist, but I think dialectics also apply to writing.

A dialectic is a union of opposites.

You have a dialectic when you have two opposing statements that are both true, joined by an AND (not a BUT!)

For example, here’s my dialectic for writing this blog post right before bedtime:
I want to go to bed (waah) AND I want to connect with my readers by writing a great post.

Both are true. In therapy we use dialectics to acknowledge both sides of the coin — to see the whole picture. Dialectics help increase empathy and decrease defensiveness.

* Alcohol helps you relax and alcohol gives you scary beer goggles.
* You love your mother and you are positively furious at your mother.
* You hate feeling dependent and you’re scared about him leaving.

Here are some dialectics I’ve noticed about writing:

* Writing is art AND writing is work.
* I feel less pressure to sell books because of my day job AND I get little writing done because of my day job.
* I want to please my readers AND I can’t please all readers.
* I write for myself AND I beam when a reader enjoys my novel.
* Writing is solitary AND writing is a way to connect to people.
* My cat Izzie is a good writing companion AND my cat Izzie has horrible fishy breath!

What dialectics have you noticed in YOUR life?

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8 thoughts on “Dialectics in Writing”

  1. I feel sometimes like my entire life is a collection of dialectics – and now I know the word for it. 🙂 I particularly relate to the dichotomy between writing being a solitary thing – which I crave – and also a way to connect with people – which I apparently need.Hey, thanks for joining Tumble 4 Ya! Can't wait to see who everyone picks. Is going to be fun. 😀


  2. Amen, Nicki. It's tough to hold opposing feelings together but to acknowledge and understand them makes it slightly easier. I have a need for social connection even after a day of counseling.Looking forward to tumbling 4 ya!


  3. Oh, I loved this post! I think I can really get into dialectics. I love my mom, but she has a scary temper. My dad's fairly quiet, but he snores like a banshee! 🙂


  4. Hey Jack! Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed your post about procrastination. \”I love the feeling when I'm done writing for the day AND I have so much trouble getting started!\” My dad snores like a banshee too! Happy writing.


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