Last Updated: Sat Jul 30, 2011 03:54 am (KSA) 00:54 am (GMT)

Sarah Sfeir / Mediterranean Views: Blank screen, and a bully for an editor

I was wondering if I should start dealing with the lack of inspiration more seriously. Has it become some kind of moral illness? Or even an IQ deficiency?

Between pitching new articles, translating and making sure that everything is perfectly done and written, I guess there is no more room for inspiration at the end of the day. I’m here in Beirut. sitting in front that blank screen (you know, we do not use paper anymore, everything has become computerized – just in case you were wondering!) searching for a topic to write about.

My heartless editor in Dubai – still anchored in the Jurassic Age -- simply assumes that all he has to say, “Just do it!” and his writers will bat out a perfectly crafted piece in 20 minutes. To put it another way, the man is a lunatic.

My dog is sitting in front of me, looking at me in that weird way, as if he had something to say (possibly to my editor)! I guess he can feel my uneasiness, is he smarter than what he appears to be?

Maybe if he could talk, he would have given me some ideas! But we all know that’s not going to happen, is it? So let’s get back to reality.
A reality, where it seems to me, that I am overloaded with a pile of monumental tasks. Looking on the situation from outside the circle, you may be thinking that I am definitely exaggerating! But put yourself in my shoes! Did you know that one mistake in a translator’s work can trigger a war?

What if accidentally the author of the article misunderstood the meaning or the context of the speech? Have you ever thought about it?

Let’s get back to that lack of inspiration. I have done quick research on the Internet, hoping that I will be lucky to find some tips or some exercises that one would do on the spot to generate inspiration, but in vain.

Blank screen, meaningless words, empty ideas… Today that is what I’m leaving you with. But I still have to send something to that fiendish editor who expects all his writers will deliver on his diktats. So this is, as we say in journalism, my copy.

(Sarah Sfeir, who holds an MBA from USEK University in Lebanon, is a Ph.D. candidate in translation. She can be reached at:

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