Monday Motivation: Write Your Truth
All you have to do is write one true sentence.
Write the truest sentence that you know.
~ Ernest Hemingway
Birthing a creative project is hard. Many observers to the creative life see it through rose-tinted glasses, imagining how wonderful it must be to write a book, play an instrument, or paint a landscape. They often don’t see (or don’t choose to see) the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the act of creation. The same with the spiritual and emotional journey — many of my spiritual breakthroughs and much of my personal development work has come via bereavements. Grief and I share the dance floor every day, and sometimes depression comes in for a stilted waltz. Birthing anything, whether it be a book or a sonata, yourself or another person, is hard work, and sometimes even the creative can find themselves stuck.
There’s been many moments when I’ve been stuck. Sometimes my meditation practice doesn’t feel like it’s a right fit, so I change it up — perhaps move from the indoor cushion to an outdoor space, or from one form of meditation to another. Sometimes I’m struggling to play a particular series of bars in a piece on the piano or harp, so I break it down into lots of little stages, and take it really slowly. And then there’s when I hit a moment in my writing where I can’t feel the characters any more or don’t have a clear sense of the story… In which case I come back to the quote at the start of this post — Write the truest sentence that you know.
This is a question I often ask myself when I’m writing into a corner or trying to find the underlying theme or mood or a piece. What’s the truth here? What can I write here that would be the most true? What’s the truth of this piece? What truth am I trying to show, to uncover, to share?
This is a question you can ask yourself no matter your creative outlet. What’s the truth in your painting? What’s the truth you’re revealing to the reader? What truth do you wish to impart through your music? You can also use it for your spiritual or intuitive practice, or emotional development: What truth am I trying to find? What truth am I missing here? Or even: What truth am I refusing to see?
There’s been moments when I am writing something and I don’t know what happens next. I’ll no doubt have those moments again; it’s part of the process. Sometimes it’ll be at the start of a blank page. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a scene or a piece of dialogue. So I circle back to the core thought: Write the truest sentence that you know. This will vary according to the piece with which you’re working; not everything has the same truth. Or maybe it does, with just different ways to say it.
Take the book I’m editing at the moment. Its core truth is that grief takes us back to who we are at our core, and then transforms us. It strips us bar and rebuilds us. The book I’m currently writing has a core truth of you are loved and you are worthy. Universal themes, universal truths.
The same questions can be used in coaching, as well. Does that thought feel like truth to you? What thought could be as true or more true than that one? What truthful evidence can you think of to back up that thought? What truth does your body/emotions tell you right now?
So, the next time you’re stuck or wondering what happens next, try thinking about the truth of your work. What is it? What is it trying to tell you? How do you share this truth with others? And then write the truest sentence that you know, paint the truth as you see it, let the truth express itself through your music. Find the truest spot for your meditation practice. Take a deep breath and examine your relationship with truth, perhaps in a journal or with a coach. Write the truest sentence that you know.
* There was no Motivation Monday last week, as I was ill. It’s my intention to offer something here several times a week, but sometimes I’ll slip up. I’m only human, not a robot, and it’s been a long time since I blogged consistently, so please bear with me. Thank you.