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The Simple Complexity of Writing--Or is it the Complex Simplicity?

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah said, “When we are able to do something so easily, we regard such thing as simplicity; but simplicity is complexity. Within the things which are simple lay the things which are complex and within the things which are complex, lay the things which are simple.”

That got me thinking about writing…

Writing is, at its core, a pretty simple concept, right? You just string words together, and voila!

But there's more to just stringing words together. You have to choose the right words, put them together in the right order, and add on the proper modifiers to ensure that you communicate clearly.

Once you learn how to do that, you know how to make sentences and paragraphs. But writing is more than just putting together paragraphs and sentences. They all have to be leading somewhere, saying something, or communicating a message. So you have to come up with a story to tell. Simple, right?

But telling a story isn't enough! You have to find the right flow, pacing, rhythm, and balance between narrative and dialogue. No story will be complete without those elements, which suddenly makes the simple complex again.

Once you learn how to find the right pacing and flow, you still have to make sure that the story has the proper elements: tension, antagonists and protagonists, developed characters, a plot to keep your readers engaged and more. It becomes more and more complex the broader you get, and yet it's simpler at the same time.

A book is a story, and a story is made up of tiny elements. The "simple" story has many complex layers and moving parts, but all of those parts are made up of simple letters, words, and sentences. Kind of a weird thing to consider!

Writing a book is similar to constructing a machine. The machine is made up of smaller parts, each of which are made up of smaller and smaller parts. The smaller you get, the "simpler" the parts, but the more vital it is that each part is exactly the right size, shape, and in its proper place.

That's some Inception-level stuff right there!