I wish I could say that being a writer is this road paved with gold bricks, but it isn’t. It’s hard. It’s writing everyday and pouring your soul on the page even when you don’t want to, even when the baby is crying, even when you’d rather be watching a new show on Netflix. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done besides becoming a parent. Yo, parenting is hard.
Do You Want To Be A Writer?
I know there are lots of aspiring writers out there and many of you are poised to be successful. I was sitting on my porch tonight thinking about the writing life and I wanted to share some lessons that I’ve learned about writing so far in my career.
- Write because you really have something to say: All of my books come from a place where I believe its important to share the characters, the story lines or the themes. The Blueprint for My Girls was a book that shared so many of my personal pains and I wanted to set myself free. So, when I wrote that book I knew it would help people.
- Write because you want to connect with a certain audience: I wrote Retaliation after hearing the voice of a young girl from my workshop who had been a victim of being jumped. Her voice and her pain shook me so thoroughly that it haunted me until I wrote the book. I knew I had to write Retaliation for girls who deal with violence and retaliation.
- Be willing to elevate your genre: The young adult books that I write don’t contain profanity. Now, people who really know me, know that I use profanity all the time. But, I want to write young adults that can be accepted into every school system without the librarian, principal or whomever saying, “This book contains too much profanity.” I love words–all words, but I love the fact that I can write a gritty urban fiction book without putting a curse word in it and it’s no less real.
- Write to earn your living but be willing to support yourself in other ways: I’ve always been a writer, but I’ve always had other businesses as well. Writing can be such a fickle profession and I’ve never wanted the lack of funds to stop me from communicating my ideas. When I was a magazine publisher, I made money from advertising and tours, but I’ve always been an entrepreneur, consultant, producer so that I could generate my own money to tell my own stories. When we are beholden to someone else to allow us to tell our stories, then there’s a problem.
- Write because you love writing and believe in the power of words. I started writing poetry first, then sitcoms, then feature screenplays, then non-fiction books, then fiction books, then… I love writing. I don’t always love the process that I go through. But, in my darkest days, the power of writing always pulls me through.
I wanted to share these thoughts to encourage aspiring writers to go for it and for others to continue to write. We were given a connection to words for a reason, let’s use it.
Do you have any stories from the trenches of the writer’s room? Or, writing on your own? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com
Peace and Love,