All You Have to Do is Write

I consider myself a writer. Not because I have published a book, though that may help validate my claim in others’ minds, but because I write.

My first book was published when I was 15 years old. My second book, a journal with some inspirational commentary, was also published when I was 15. My third book is written but not yet published. My fourth book is already taking shape in my mind. The fifth and sixth books will have to wait their turn to come into existence, but they are there.

For years I’ve had a dream to write — to be a writer — and for many of those years, I lamented that even though I was published, I didn’t feel like a writer. Why? Because I wasn’t writing.

Now, 20 years after my first publication, I am writing. I am noticing things in the world and documenting them. I am working to articulate observations, thoughts and ideas.

One of my favorite quotes is from “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. He writes:

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

And my favorite part of that quote is, “All you have to do is write….”

All you have to do is write.

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