Monday, May 31, 2004

Writer, Creator

Writer, Creator

Staring at a blank page or computer screen and not knowing what to write is probably the most dreaded feeling for a writer.

Even if we are not professional writers, many of us would still end up in situations in our jobs where we are forced to write: It could be a reply to an important email, it could be a job application letter or it could be a brief executive summary which we are banking our hopes on to make our proposal stand out among the rest. Like it or not, we are always forced to write; and we are often judged by how well we convey ourselves through those few sentences that we commit to paper.

Whenever I'm faced with a situation where I'm not sure how or what to write, I always remember Ernest Hemingway's advice from A Moveable Feast: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know".

Newton's First Law of Motion states that a body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion continues to move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force. This applies to anything we do. In writing, one true sentence is often sufficient to bring you forward.

Once we force ourselves to start, there's a forward momentum and the creative juices would start flowing. A true sentence is one that's simple, concise and clear. If the sentence is true, it will stand on its own and it will have the strength to serve as the foundation for us to build our next sentence, and the next one--ad infinitum.

I suppose God doesn't need to write; but when the Almighty was staring into darkness, He--more or less--used the same principle when he said, "Let there be light", and there was light. That started the whole process of Creation.

Writing is also an act of creation. We get to play God everytime we write. I would even say, we are more powerful than God when we write: whenever we are not happy with our creations, we just DELETE it. No big deal. Imagine, God had to go through the trouble of creating a Flood to wipe out what he didn't like.

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