Friday, January 08, 2010

On Being a Writer

I am working on a class about writer's block and internal editors, which I am going to teach next week and while I was getting my handouts ready, I end up going on to Facebook (in a poor attempt to procrastinate or take a little break) and find this gem in an article a friend posted by Junot Diaz:

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.


God, I love that.

You are a writer because you can stop writing. You are a writer because you cannot not write. When there is no hope and you have no belief you'll ever seriously get published or what's the point, you still write.

By the way, Junot Díaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (published by Riverhead) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.


  1. julia alvarez had a nice essay that had something about writer's bloc in it. In the collection "Something to Declare" but now I can't recall the exact essay.

    I also have a really good quote from Terry Brooks' book on writing but it isn't in front of me. It was something along the line of -Writer's bloc is God's way of telling you one of two things: you either didn't come into your writing session with a concrete idea or you need a break to spend time with your loved ones. He said it much better.

    Sounds like a great idea for a class!

  2. I find that I have dormant periods when I'm not writing very much, or just squeezing out a line or two every few days. Other times it's flowing freely, I'll be writing every spare minute I have, I can't stop.

    I've come to feel that the dormant periods are necessary, an essential part of the creative work. When I'm finding it difficult to write, when the stuff isn't coming out much, I make a point of spending time just observing and making contact with the world around me, often silently. That also seems to be necessary. I need periodically to spend time -- at least brief periods of time here and there -- getting at the silence before words.


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