Thursday, July 8, 2010

On becoming a writer

[print by Merrick Angle]

I've read somewhere that to be a successful writer you have to have a wicked stubborn streak. My mother and Mr. Coleman know best of all how well-qualified I must be.

I am still hard at work on my first novel, reworking a second draft which I can actually show people. Of course, the writing happens in between the rest of life. In between cutting up vegetables and breaking up fights and deadheading flowers and reading bedtime stories.

When I want to quit because it's hard, I think about this article about Junot Díaz. Somehow I've found the will to keep going all this time. (Which, incidentally, is the core of what my story is about.) Here's a snippet from his essay:

"Because, in truth, I didn't become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. Wasn't until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am."

Junot Díaz's novel THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSACR WAO (Riverhead) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.


  1. I can't wait until I'm able to read your book. I think you'd be a phenomenal writer!

  2. Thanks for the inspiration & for the lovely evening last night!

  3. Ah, I really like that. And I really like you. Good luck in making the time to work on your 2nd draft, especially during the extra busy of summer. Thank you for your questions and ideas and interest.

  4. If the results of everything else you accomplish in life are any indication of how your novel will turn out, it will be wonderful. You should bring your draft to the reunion... you know we're not shy about giving constructive criticsm. :)