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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