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June 6, 2011

Divergent Challenge: Erudite

Kate Hart
It's time for another Divergent challenge, and this week's faction is...

ERUDITE: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly

I am pretty sure, despite their eventual jackassery in the book, that these are my people. Not that I'm a super genius or anything, it's just that... y'all, I loved school. I loved it so much that I tried THREE TIMES to get a master's degree before realizing I was actually a writer.

Photobucket So it wasn't exactly a stretch last week for me to spend a ridiculous amount of time researching. Writing, however, about killed me. Yesterday was the worst-- I ended up almost in tears because I got trapped in the vicious "I don't know what to do with this / I'm a fraud / I'll never get this book done / I should be working on it / I don't know what to do with it" cycle. I finally closed my computer, took a hot bath, and looked around for something to read. And there, beside my bed, was the book my BFF gave me over a year ago. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. The one the BFF called her personal horcrux. It was just waiting patiently for me to sit down and read it all the way through.

So I did. Guess what I learned.
"If you leave it to the more sensitive side of your nature to set the conditions of your work and living for you, you may find yourself at the end of your days with very little to show for the gift you were both with. A far better idea is to realize from the start that you are subject to certain caprices of action, and to study yourself objectively until you find which of your impulses are sound and which are likely to lead you into bogs of inertia and silence."
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Pretty sure Tumblr is my bog of inertia, if not silence.
"The tormenting doubts of one's own ability, the self-conscious muteness that drops like a pall over the best story ideas, come from consulting the judge in oneself at the moment when it is the storyteller's turn to be ascendent."
"You must be not only strict with ourself but fair. A blanket condemnation will get you no further than uncritical self-approval."

True story: One time, when my sister was like, "WTF, why is Kate always on my case?", my mom said, "If she's so hard on you, imagine how hard she is on herself." When Mom repeated that conversation to me, I cried. But I still manage to forget or ignore it when I sit down to write. And you know. Like 364 other days a year too.
"Forget or ignore for a while all the difficulties you have let yourself dwell upon too often; refuse to consider, in your period of training, the possibility of failure."
Easier said than done... but not done at all if I don't at least try.
"No human being is so poor as to have no trace of genius; none so great that he comes within infinity of using his own inheritance to the full."
Photobucket See? We can all be Erudite.

I guess these were all things I know, in principle. But sometimes you need to be in the right frame of mind to truly absorb something. The book also has a step by step plan for "hitching your unconscious mind to your writing arm," and when I've tried it, I'll report back.

(I don't have to destroy this horcrux, do I? I'm relatively sure the BFF did not kill anyone to obtain it.)


  1. I took the Divergent Quiz twice and got Dauntless. I'm not that brave so I was surprised. I really wanted Erudite.

  2. I have this book but I've never read it. And now I reallyreallyreally want to.

  3. Lovely post, Kate! And I SO IDENTIFY with your "I don't know what to do with this / I'm a fraud / I'll never get this book done / I should be working on it / I don't know what to do with it" cycle. ARGH! Methinks I'll have to go get that book :-)

  4. Theresa, I got Dauntless too and couldn't figure out why!

    It's old-timey, Vee, but I think it would be up your alley.

    Thanks Lara! Hope it helps!

  5. That looks like a wonderful book and I loved your post!


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