How Writers Improve

Lastweek in this spot, Andromeda started an important discussion on the plateaus we
encounter as we learn. Writers are forever learning, which means we’ll forever
be hitting plateaus.
we get past them. We get better—not as quickly as we like, but we do improve.
Here’s how:
Ganas: A term
popularized among English speakers by math teacher Jaime Escalante, ganas is a
desire so strong that giving up is out of the question. You get better because
you want it, badly. You’re desperate—so desperate that, paradoxically, despair
is out of the question.
Generosity: We get better
when we’re generous with ourselves—and with others. Who says a journey must be
fast—or easy? Who says progress must be linear? Who says we have to compare
ourselves with anyone else? The fruit of generosity is patience.
Wholemindedness: Okay, that’s not
really a word. But what I mean is this—when you feel stuck, it’s often because
you’ve ceded too much to the analytical parts of your brain. Those parts of the
brain are useful—really useful—but given too much control, they stifle the more
intuitive parts, where insights and breakthroughs happen.
Openness: All around, we
have teachers—books we love, authors we admire. As we’re open, as we pay
attention, we learn from them, both by osmosis and by analysis.
Resilience: It’s my first spring
in a place where the planting season begins in February, and I admit to being a
bit plant-obsessed. But honestly, the most ordinary plant has a tremendous
amount to teach us about resilience. The pretty green parts may be up top, but
the real work happens below the surface, in the dirt, where roots reach and reach
till they get what they’re after. Pruning (in reasoned amounts) only makes the
plant stronger. And under stress, it blooms and blooms and blooms.

Co-founder of 49 Writers
and founder of the independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, Deb Vanasse has
authored seventeen books. Among the most recent are Write Your Best Book, a practical guide to
writing books that rise above the rest; Cold Spell, a novel that
“captures the
harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated
family bonds; and the “deeply researched and richly imagined” biography  Wealth Woman. 
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