http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=29302

Great Writing Comes From the Heart

Wang Guanming, a Chinese-language columnist, recommends books with depth, such as the Chinese literature classics. Pictured above: A brush painting of a scene from the 'Dream of the Red Chamber' by Qing Dynasty artist Sun Wen. (Image: Sevilledade / Wikipedia)
Wang Guanming, a Chinese-language columnist, recommends books with depth, such as the Chinese literature classics. Pictured above: A brush painting of a scene from the 'Dream of the Red Chamber' by Qing Dynasty artist Sun Wen. (Image: Sevilledade / Wikipedia)

Great literary works can evoke a multitude of emotions, yet can also nourish people’s hearts. But how does one create great books or articles? And how does a writer find the inspiration to create them?

To find the answers to these questions, we asked Chinese-language columnist Wang Guanming from Epoch Times who began writing for the newspaper and the web in December 2005. Wang Guanming has much to say about the journey toward better writing.

Reading is the basis of writing; writing is the extension of reading

According to Wang, whether an article has depth and substance is determined by the author’s moral quality and depth of thought. He says the key to depth of thought is how much one reads and how much life experience one has. A famous Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu, wrote: “Only after reading over 10,000 books can one write like a saint.”

Wang said:

Wang gave a few simple examples to illustrate the importance of reading. Beginners in calligraphy must practise by imitating others until they can develop their own style. Beginning actors must also learn from others before finding their particular style. Therefore, beginning writers must start by reading others’ works.

Du Fu ancient Chinese poet chinese literature

A famous Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu, wrote: ‘Only after reading over 10,000 books can one write like a saint.’ Pictured above: Du Fu. (Image: roo72/Wikipedia)

Wang said: “Reading is the basis of writing; writing is the extension of reading.” Wang gave a few simple examples to illustrate the importance of reading.

Beginners in calligraphy must practice by imitating others until they can develop their own style. Beginning actors must also learn from others before finding their particular style. Therefore, beginning writers must start by reading others’ works.

Of course, one must be selective about what to read. Wang recommends books with depth, such as the four Chinese literature classics: Dream of the Red Chamber, Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Marsh, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

If a person is interested in history, Wang said, he or she should read Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian and Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government by Sima Guang. Moreover, 24 Histories provides a good overview of China’s history.

Wang also recommends reading one’s favorite books and books that are beneficial to writing many times “in order to develop one’s mind power and to apply what’s in the books to real-life scenarios,” and also “to stimulate the hidden wisdom in one’s mind and promote innovation to eventually be successful.”

Reading must be accompanied by experiences

Reading without real-life experiences is not enough to broaden one’s horizons, said Wang. He thinks traveling to inspirational places can be very enriching. Wang said: “If you travel with a lofty goal in mind, you will learn a lot from the experience.” As an author, Wang has always obtained a deeper understanding of life through admiring the mountains and the ocean.

As a human being, one should be as steady as the mountains and as tolerant as the ocean, said Wang.

Great teachers in Chinese history, such as Confucius, Lao Zi and Mencius, all had similar experiences traveling and teaching. Such traveling is a good opportunity to learn and to test one’s thoughts. Therefore, “traveling 10,000 miles” is as important as “reading 10,000 books.”

mencius philosopher ancient china

Great teachers in Chinese history, such as Confucius, Lao Zi, and Mencius, all had similar experiences traveling and teaching. Such traveling is a good opportunity to learn and to test one’s thoughts. Pictured above: Mencius. (Image: PhidiasNL/Wikipedia)

Improvement of the heart brings writing success

Great articles are “written by the heart.” This seemingly simple statement has a multitude of meanings. While reading, one must be able to distill the essence from the reading and accumulate these essences as long as possible. Then, prior to writing, one must obtain an overall view of the event, of the atmosphere, and of the aftermath of the event. When all these are met, one can start writing from the heart.

A person must also pay attention to the quality of the article. What is the quality? Wang said:

Great articles already exist; we ‘just happen to catch them’

Regarding inspiration, Wang had this to say: “Even though one has a good literary education and writing skills, without inspiration, one cannot create any original work and can only copy others’ work.”

The great poet Lu You said:

“Articles are Heaven-sent; I just happened to catch them.”

Wang thinks that when someone cultivates him or herself according to China’s traditional spiritual disciplines, that person’s article has pure kindness and pure beauty. Readers are most likely to be moved by such an article and say: “That is a real masterpiece!”

 

dream of the red chamber painting by xu baozhuan china

Great literary works can evoke a multitude of emotions, yet can also nourish people’s hearts. Pictured above: A scene from ‘Dream of the Red Chamber,’ painted by Xu Baozhuan (1810-1873). (Image: Aarchiba/Wikipedia)

Since ancient times, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism have all taught “promoting kindness.” Wang says:

Follow us on Twitter or Subscribe to our weekly email.

What's in a Chinese Name?
'Sonita,' a Documentary About a Young Girl Who Escapes Forced Marriage