The secret of “How to write something profound”
Opus:20050809 Nbr:1 Essay
The blank page in a Journal, Diary, Notebook, or whatever lies. It knows that to remain blank, as is its desire, it must convince the one who would write on it not to. Therefore, it places in the mind of the writer the thought that their writing has to be profound, more profound than they think they can write.
Such thoughts cause the poor would be author to panic. They flounder around struggling to think of something profound enough for dirtying the page, and can think of nothing. Instead, they get focused on their apparent inadequacy, and they think that they are but fools to have ever even dreamed of writing.
So the page, by virtue of its lie, stays blank, as it desires. And … the next great author to rise to world acclaim, sinks into obscurity because they are not profound enough to scribble on a scrap of paper. They live an unfulfilled life as a social flunky because they were dumb enough to believe the lies of bird cage liner.
If, instead of listening to the lies, one would just write … and write … and write, eventually they will find that they have written something quite profound. The secret is to realize that for each Profound Piece, each Significant Statement, each Enlightening Essay, each Amazing Anecdote there are pages of wasted ink. For each nugget of gold there will be a mountain of worthless sludge.
That is a cold, hard, immutable fact of life that is known by every prospector and author. What we see as the really significant works of a great writer are merely the few nuggets they have sifted from mountain upon mountain of sludge. They are not stupid. They never show others the sludge. They only show us the nuggets.
One must write mountains of sludge to find a few precious nuggets. For apart from the sludge there will be no nuggets. To believe otherwise is to believe the lies.
So quit listening to the blank page. Instead, start filling its emptiness, and the emptiness of its brothers, with sludge so that the flow of sludge will wash onto the page the nuggets that make writing worthwhile.