Are You Interested in Your Own Thoughts?

The central fact of your education is this:    

You’ve been taught to believe that what you discover                                                                

by thinking,                                                                                                                                  

By examining your own thoughts and perceptions,    

Is unimportant and unauthorized.      

As a result, you fear thinking,      

And you don’t believe your thoughts are interesting,

Because you haven’t learned to be interested in them.

 

There’s another possibility:  

You may be interested in your thoughts,            

But they don’t have much do to with anything you’ve

ever been asked to write.

 

The same is true of what you notice.            

You don’t even notice what you notice,            

Because nothing in your education has taught you that            

what you notice is important.

 

And if you do notice something that interests you,            

It doesn’t have much to do with anything you’ve ever

been asked to write.

 

But everything you notice is important.            

Let me say that a different way:            

If you notice something, it’s because it’s important.      

But what you notice depends on what you allow your-            

self to notice,    

And that depends on what you feel authorized, per-      

mitted to notice            

In a world where we’re trained to disregard our perceptions.

 

Who’s going to give you the authority to feel that what            

you notice is important?            

It will have to be you.            

The authority you feel has a great deal to do with how            

you write, and what you write,            

With your ability to pay attention to the shape and            

meaning of your own thoughts            

And the value of your own perceptions.

 

Being a writer is an act of perpetual self-authorization.            

No matter who you are.            

Only you can authorize yourself.            

You can do that by writing well, by constant discovery.            

No one else can authorize you.            

No one.          

This doesn’t happen overnight.            

It’s as gradual as the improvement in your writing.

 

-- from Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing