Do you have an open mind? Why would you want to have an open mind?
Having an open mind makes you less judgemental. Being less judgemental makes you a better observer of things. You can see things from various people’s perspectives, put yourself in others’ shoes, feel what they feel. You don’t go around with a pre-set mould trying to fit people and situations into it.
I think this open mindedness is a very important quality in a writer. The less open minded you are, the less you see things around you. The less you feel what others feel. The less eyes you have to see with.
Sadly, having an open-minded personality brings some pitfalls with it.
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it” (Terry Pratchett)
An open mind is often mistaken as a sign of weakness. As an inability to take a stand.
This is where the cocksure person comes in. S/he finds an open mind a devious opportunity.
The cocksure person’s perspectives are hardly ever exploratory and always clearly argumentative, often aggressively so. At worst, such position becomes fanatical. At best it silences, not convinces most of the time.
Such cocksure variety of writers unfortunately like to buzz around open minded writers because they feel it’s an easy entry into a “soft” argument. Having repelled other cocksure people around them, they approach the decent open-minded person.
They feel sure in their arrogance that they can put their half-baked cookie-cutter ideas into the open mind and propagate their ideas.
When their cocksure cookies (pardon the alliteration) are only half-baked, they crumble easily.
But there is the the odd, brilliant, cocksure argument that will clamp on the open mind, stifle it and prove that exploration is getting lost, empathy is folly, seeing another perspective is immorality and a lack of answers to a debatable point is a weakness.
Cocksuredness has managed to elicit the support of a lot of our already existing social tropes regarding masculinity, the superiority of logic over other approaches to thinking, loyalty, strength of personality, intelligence, leadership and so many other things.
But dominance does not have a good place amongst writing strategies. Being cocksure about a position is never compatible with being a good writer.