Last weekend I read an article by Nike Bourne which for me resonated with layers of truths. He wrote:

It is [hard] for a writer, particularly a novice, to accept that writing requires more than following the rules. It requires dedication, education, understanding, courage and creativity . . . It takes creative intelligence to break free of the restrictions of the world as it is and see the world as it might be.

Writing creatively is never as simple as washing the dishes, feeding the cat or penning a cliche. It requires us to take risks, to move outside safe, rules-based thinking.

The Malaysian writer will find this even more challenging as our country’s very environment imposes restrictions, whether cultural, political or religious, on what can and what can’t be said, yet alone written. Hence taking risks is not encouraged.

Following the rules will not make us great writers. We do need that something more. But in our life of many rules, be in cultural, political or religious, this is no easy thing.

We need not write on those particular sensitive subjects but it is our own mind sets that can imprison us. We need freedom from our own self-imposed restrictions.

Perhaps then we’ll find that great Malaysian writer in each of us.