When I was a college freshman, my English professor said, "Lots of young people want to write. But before you write, you must first have something to say."
The message was: The yearning to write is not sufficient to produce something worthwhile to read.
At the time, I thought that was an extremely wise insight.
Moreover, even if you begin a piece of writing knowing quite exactly what you want to say, if you’re relaxed about it you’ll find your heartbrain going off in interesting, unexpected directions. And if you begin with nothing but your pencil and a sense of vague desperation, you’ll eventually find yourself focusing and sharpening on something worthwhile, and smiling as you go.
I've learned that way too many writers get confused and think they're preachers.
Bad writers preach badly: "Mean people suck and should be hated."
Good writers preach well: "Mean people suck and should be pitied."
Great writers draw on their deepest courage and humility: "Mean people are the likes of you and me."
Nobody needs a preacher. Just shed light. Great writing is a journey of discovery, and it can be undertaken by anybody.
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[Photo info: I took this shot of the sky over Sarasota, Florida.]
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