Musings on Writing… the what, how and why’s of it

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How did you get started on your writing?, a friend once asked.

Short answer: Nature and nurture.

The nature vs nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. Nature refers to genetic n hereditary factors that made us who we are. Nurture includes environmental matters: our early childhood experiences, family upbringing, social relationships, and our culture.

For me, nature means God-given. This gift to write is by His grace. Grace is God’s undeserved gift. Often, when I read what I wrote long ago, I am surprised and wondered: Did I really write that? Where did that come from? His still small voice, the Holy Spirit whispers when I listen intently as I read His Word. My seminary professor told me to write things that kept knocking at my door. He wisely taught me that inspiration comes from God.

Nurture is about practice. The more I write, the more things to write about. The more things to write, the more I like to write. Where did I get practice?I remember my mom drilled me on writing… not writing as in writing thoughts but writing words (写字). I hate writing exercises especially writing Chinese words to fill up every blank squares on the writing pad for assignment.

So my writing began with copying words to recognise, memorise, learn and apply. My writing skills and habits were formed and shaped in school. We’re required to write regularly formal and informal themes in English. In Chinese classes, we had 造句 (writing sentences) in early grades and eventually, 作文 (essays) in high school.

Eventually my writing extended to writing letters. I had pen-pals from Germany, Finland and France. In those days, we ‘mailed’ our letters = stationery pads, envelops, stamps. Writing letters formed my habit to let my friends know me (my likes, dislikes), tell stories what I’ve been doing, etc. Letters back and forth through long periods of time, formed bonds of friendship. So I did the same when my friends from school and church migrated to the States. The friendship continues even till today – though we no longer write long letters regularly, we picked up where we left off – just like old times. The bond of friendship stays strong.

Why am I writing this? It is just to tell my story candidly – whatever is true and real. As I write, I pray that people would know me and most especially the God who made me and gave me this gift to write.

A blessed day to you, my friend. Read God’s Word – He alone gives Words for the Blessed life!


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