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These were so good: "a fusion of genres: the soul of a memoirist, the pen of a poet, and the rigor of an academic." and "Good ideas never come alone; they always try to smuggle in their friends."

Also, the picture of "post-draft" made me lol.

I resonated with all of this until the last three questions to clarify your thesis. I didn't really understand the first two points, and as for the last point—what should the reader do?—why does the reader need to do anything at all? In my earlier writing, I was always trying to have a lesson or a takeaway for the reader but now that feels too preachy or forced. What if I just want to share my story and leave it at that?

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I’m here for this. Paid and looking forward to the series. The drawings felt endearingly looney. Thank you.

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I wrote a really long comment that was full of praise and amazement at your ability to call out the follies of letting our writing become hydras. Alas, I expanded on someone's comment and then it just went kaputz. Perhaps the creative Gods knew I was deviating from the thesis of my comment and spared me the embarrassment.

So anyways, good job.

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Which points resonated with you and why?

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"a thesis is consequential" --> the aha moment for me is that I have thesis/theses and that no doubt I am disregarding/disembowling/disingenueing them as i continue to ignore and/or validate their role in the essay --> i purged 1K words from an essay last week and saved it and myself the trouble of having to hold on to dear dear words just for one extra fart joke --> growth is possible --> this essay is a helpful reminder that the task of writing is not done alongside the writing/editing/feedback -- you also need the 300 yard view, the microscope, and above all the study of the purpose and value of what you created (this is if you want your "art" to have value -- that said even if I am writing coca cola, an intentional play to make junk food is better than just guzzling it from a fountain in a south dakota shoneys)

Do any examples come to mind that you’d like to share?

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Would it be safe to say that the central thesis of Garfield is "make 'em laugh" -- while the deeper seeded premise (maybe-thesis) is no man is alone (we have talking cats) -- and the deeper seeded maybe-maybe-thesis is see life through the eyes of others to find joy (we have talking cats you can read and see complain here). The Far Side as another comic example has many theses panel to panel, but the work as a whole seems to imply consider alternative realities next to whichever reality you currently submit to.

What do you disagree with and why?

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I'll be argumentative and say that a thesis less existence holds value as well, but probably lacks the legs for audience growth (unless said nowhere man was really super special). As someone who often seeks to work with and for nothing I dream there is value there, but I might just be cosplaying god as a void instead of accepting the multifold manifold truth that everything is something and nothing is really nothing...

...also the never have mutiple thesis thesis is potentially hole pokey...as soon as you get to chapter two or the subchapters of this thesis more theses will reveal themselves...to that end maybe the idea is to have as many theses as you need, but avoid them intermingling in the same tome...bending back to the science of all this, probably worth knowing up front or at the end what exactly you are creating...is it just an essay or a piece of something larger?...if larger when do you need to determine how large?...

EXTRAS

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...just want to give you A+ thanks and chops for taking a picture of vomit and turning it into a bright clarified shiny sunshine...in my puke i find truth...but i have to distill and wash it to do so...and the truth is i shouldn't have eaten or drank that much...

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Feb 11Liked by Michael Dean

Question about the 300-level paid posts. Are they already published or do they come out in subsequent weeks as well? Also, are you full up on coaching clients? Interested in learning more about that service. Thanks.

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Feb 11Liked by Michael Dean

The one sentence at the top of a draft that you continually check back and update as the draft evolves is a really useful tip. I suspect many people (me included) do this implicitly by re-reading the draft at a different sitting, effectively loading a ton of things into working memory and leaving less for writing.

For me as a hobbyist writer (and a serious writer at work when it comes to communicating effectively), what I find hardest to grok is "how to care enough to write a really good essay." For me, most of the time, good enough is good enough. That means drafting a Slack message in 5 minutes and spending 3 minutes editing and hitting send sooner than later. That means drafting a blog post in 1 hour and spending 15 minutes editing and hitting publish sooner than later. I'm not motivated enough at this point to create a Bloody Good Essay; I'd rather create multiple Good Enough If You Understand My Main Point Essays.

But on to the topic of having a thesis - I can say with confidence that 8 years of blogging has helped me arrive at the same conclusion. That is, you have to provide the feeble human reader's mind with ONE and only one big idea in a single post/essay. Atomicity as you say. And linking out (hypertext, baby!) to your other essays when there is natural jumping off point is a great way to "include" the stuff surrounding (but outside) the atom.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this essay and it gave me some things to casually think about. I doubt I'm going to find motivation to level-up and become a serious practitioner of essays soon, though maybe I'm just missing an "a-ha, THIS is why I should go from good to great" moment. Something tells me you might supply that in an indirect way with your series, so I'll be paying attention!

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