Quite a long time ago, a professor was marking some papers. The job was very arduous and very boring and he was sick and tired of the whole thing. Then, amongst the completed essays, he came across a blank piece of paper. At first he thought of giving the student an extra mark for the blank sheet.

Then a sentence popped into his head, and he wrote it down on the page. Then he put it aside, and carried on with his tedious task.

However, he didn’t forget the sentence. From that one moment, the blessed moment for a writer of finding a blank piece of paper, came some of the greatest books ever written, well-beloved stories, inspiration to hundreds of other writers, and a new mythology. The professor was J.R.R. Tolkien and the line he wrote was ‘In the hole of a ground there lived a hobbit.’

He didn’t even know what a hobbit was when he wrote that line. But this anecdote shows two important traits of a writer.

First, from one tiny line an entire world can grow.

Second is that the most inspiring, the most wanted, the most precious thing to a writer is a blank piece of paper discovered in the middle of a very boring task.


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