Monday, May 2, 2011

Law 5: Faith is Active

Making Monday

The fifth Law of Making, the second of the Laws of Living, is, "True making is an act of faith."

Faith, particularly in institutions and traditions, is not much in fashion at present. While there have been high profile cases of institutions betraying the trust of their faithful members, the problem, at a deeper level, is that many institutions and traditions teach a passive faith that encourages dependence.

The faith of the makers is active. Rather than trusting that somehow things will get better, makers trust that they can make things better--that doing something constructive is better than doing nothing.

To the extent that there is such a thing as a national character, the American can-do spirit is similar to the faith of the makers. When makers hear the New Testament promise that with as much faith as a mustard seed you can move mountains, they reach for a shovel.

And when it comes to writing, makers express their faith by putting words on paper.

The oft shared advice to break your writer's block by writing something--anything--is a good example of the faith of the makers in microcosm. Writing, even the simplest sentences, forces you to organize your thoughts at least enough to join a few words into a coherent sentence. That sentence creates a small bit of order in the chaos of the blank page. Add another sentence and you've created a bit more order. Meaning arises from the order we create out of chaos. Soon, what seemed like a hopeless jumble become something significant. You may not have the prose you need to complete the project, but you will at least have eliminated the fear that you can't write. You will, in other words, have made it better.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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