What you need to do to be a writer

Today, I am thinking about Alice Walker.

It has been weeks since I’ve written an actual word on anything. I have written more status updates that I think I’ve ever done but a word on my current short story? Those words just aren’t there.

And it’s not that the story doesn’t intrigue me in some way. It does. It intrigues me a lot. It’s just that, maybe, I lost my mojo.

I know this happens, especially to writers who have completed their MFA. I finished in Feb. 2012, but since then there has been little in terms of completed projects. Here are some of the ways I have failed:

  • My thesis is complete and needs revision to become a novel. I’ve slightly work on that. 
  • I’ve had a short story published, which was a chapter of my thesis. So, no new words there. 
  • I’ve written poetry, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been a poet. Imagine the quality of those little masterpieces. 

Yes, my friends, I’ve lost my mojo and it seems that as a result I will be starting a new journey toward regaining it. Just like I started a journey toward finding myself through books and through writing several years ago, now I start a new one.

This brings me to Alice Walker.

A good friend of mine posted an article on her Facebook page of an interview with Alice Walker. That interview had this quote:

“If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions, and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it. You have to go wherever you need to go, and you have to be wherever you need to be, and place yourself there against the forces that would distort you and destroy you.” 

What a quote, huh? What a way to start the new journey (or maybe it’s just the next phase of it?).

For me, a life worth living is a life with words–a life of reading words, writing words, and living words. That last part is the most difficult, living words. Because, you see, you can’t write words if you don’t live them, fully and with wonder. I believe in truth in writing, and I can’t write that if I don’t live it.

And so this is the charge from Mrs. Walker, to do what I need to do and live the life I think is worth living and damn the torpedoes.

The how of the matter, however, will be interesting to figure out.

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7 thoughts on “What you need to do to be a writer

  1. @Kim Man, it is difficult to get it back! I didn't even anticipate how difficult it would be. It starts with a sense of empowerment (I can literally write anything I want) and then dread sets in (I can write anything I want.) Did you or @Natasha felt that way?


  2. This is my favorite “writer” quote:
    “Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.”
    –Jessamyn West (American author)

    Whenever I feel like I can’t do it, I come back to it.


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