The First Sentence

May 28, 2015

I suppose writing the first sentence in a manuscript is similar to making the first brush stroke in a painting.  All sorts of voices, mostly inner critics, attempt to stop you.

I say, ignore it.  Just write.  Pick up a pencil, pen or open up your laptop and START.  The first sentence may feel like the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do (could this be a throw back to when we were a little kids afraid of jumping into a swimming pool or deep blue ocean because we couldn’t swim?).  Trust me, it won’t be the hardest thing you’ve done in your life.  There may be more difficult tasks hiding out in the future .  The first sentence in your brilliant manuscript will most likely fall way down on your list of scary things.

Remind yourself of what it was that you wanted to share with the world in the first place.  Tap in to those feelings, remembrances, stories, or experiences and tell your story with no fear of judgement .  We are, after all, our own worst critics.  What’s the worst that can happen?  No one likes your writing or your painting?

In my case, I throw myself out into the world with my writing AND my painting.  Am I afraid of the reception I will get?  Somewhat, sure, but does it stop me from painting or writing, NO, never.  I don’t worry about it as much as I used to.  I’ve decided that it makes for a happier life NOT to obsess about how I’m perceived.  I think that type of worry erodes the creative flow and energy that is out there for everyone, just waiting to get tapped in to.

And if I’ve learned anything from the recent three day Kauai Writer’s Conference I attended, it was that you’ll most likely go back after you’ve written all you can on that first sentence, first paragraph, first page and chapter…first manuscript, and start hacking away at it.  Perhaps mercilessly or perhaps with an abundance of compassion and charity, but hacking away nonetheless.

Whatever happens, it all started with the jewel of your first sentence or with your first brush stroke.

It is more than OK to jump right in to the deep end of your emotional swimming pool and start writing away or painting away.

It is far much worse to be passive, to do nothing.

Living life is about DOING.  So go “DO”.


A new series of watercolors. And after writing this particular blog post, I’m tempted to name it “Jumping in to the deep blue”. These paintings are about being unafraid of your creative process.

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