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Stubborn, the evil twin of persistent: Editor's Notes #238
June 30, 2017
Hello,

Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision.
Visions don't change, they are only refined.
Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed.
Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.

--John C. Maxwell


In this issue:

1. Stubborn, the evil twin of persistent
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Stubborn, the evil twin of persistent
The last issue was a call to persistence. I doubt that any publication has met the world without a seriously persistent author. When I finished writing that issue, I began an internal discussion about the flip side of persistence.

As an editor, I have clients I feel I must challenge to persevere. I can see promise in what is written even as I give hard critique, and I often worry that my honest critique will douse a legitimate flame.

I have other clients that I want to shake as I say, "Stop it!" I never mean stop writing. I love writing too much to tell anyone to stop. What I usually mean is, stop clinging to your belief about X. X can be almost anything: a plot point, a character, an opinion about publishers, a muddy explanation of something, a blind spot in an argument, the idea that a marketer can turn a piece of very bad writing into a bestseller. The list of things to stop is pretty much unlimited.

I don’t grab people and shake them. I don’t raise my voice to my clients. And as a freelance editor, I have no control whatsoever over what my clients do with the best advice I can give them. So, I have to let things go in many instances.

What I have to figure out in each instance is whether I am dealing with persistent writer or a stubborn writer. A persistent writer has a goal and will do whatever it takes to reach that goal. A persistent writer is clear-eyed and knows how to receive new information and make use of it where that’s appropriate. That’s someone I can persevere with. The stubborn writer clings to an idea in spite of evidence, even when clinging to the idea works against what the writer says is the goal. In the end, I always have to let such a writer go.

It’s relatively easy for me to tell when a writer is persistent or stubborn. It’s harder for me to tell the same thing about myself. Maybe you have the same problem.

I believe the distinction is how committed we are the goal. Do we really want that book to hit the shelves? Or do we really want to be patted on the back or be told that our idea that flies in the face of all reason is actually brilliant?

The way I can tell whether my commitment is to the real goal is how I respond to critique or new information. After all, if I haven’t met my stated goal with the information I have, I must need something new.

If you are stuck, try something else to meet your true goal. Otherwise, like the stubborn donkey who balks at moving forward, you’ll starve at the side of the road.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

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3. Interesting Web site
If you are not clear about your vision, try these suggestions to see through the fog.
http://seapointcenter.com/rediscover-your-vision/

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4. Writing prompt
It’s summer. Write about your ideal garden.

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