Category Archives: Toni Morrison

Keeping Your Creativity Flowing


Amazon author, Heather Sylvawood

Sometimes I find myself wallowing in my lack of raving success. The feelings that tell me I’m wallowing include:

  • Fear my writing isn’t (I’m not) good enough
  • Despondency when my incoming email doesn’t bring notification of another subscriber to my list
  • Frustration when the process of editing takes so long
  • Resentment that other needs (not my own) intrude onto my time
  • Despair that I can be so easily distracted from my writing by activities that are supposed to increase my visibility but don’t seem to bring astounding results (like blogging, ha ha!)

The Writing Success Road

Then I remember that many other writers don’t ‘make it’ in the first few years of their writing career. The fact that I’m starting NOW and they started years before doesn’t register. They are NOW reaping the benefit of years of similar struggle until their breakthrough moment when a book took off.

Author Experiences Before Success

Here are few author’s experiences:

  1. Donald Ray Pollock published his The Devil All the Time debut novel in 2011, but not everyone knows he was 55 before he completed his collection of short stories and three years later his novel.
  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie started writing aged 44, but it was 20 years later that she achieved her success.
  3. Helen DeWitt confessed that she spent seven years working on various novels, trying to combine writing with various jobs. “In 1995 I decided this must stop. I had 100 novels in fragments …” The Last Samurai is what resulted.
  4. Joanna Penn, prolific writer of thrillers based around religious themes, was a business IT consultant for 13 years before she published her first book (non-fiction) and started her career as a novelist.
  5. Toni Morrison, whom I featured on WriteGear’s FaceBook page, was 35 when she joined a writers group. The result five years later was her first novel The Bluest Eye.

Tips for Finding Your Writing Motivation

I found this interesting blog: 6 Tips for Finding the Courage to Write, by author Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen.  The tips are from a book Laurie reviewed, written by Lionel Shriver.

These are the six tips, but please click the link above to access her blog, written five years ago, but still as relevant today.

  1. Accept that you’ll need to fire up your courage every day, every hour
  2. Prepare yourself for a long writing journey…and try to enjoy it!
  3. Expect writing rejections – even from your own literary agent
  4. If you can’t go through it, get around it
  5. Do not give up on your book or writing career
  6. Learn to cope with fear, anxiety, doubt, self-criticism

I would like to add one more.:

7. Go back to the reason you wanted to write in the first place – feel the urgency and return to today’s writing with that same sense of MUST WRITE.


Write blogger because you must


I have just been watching a YouTube video uploaded seven years ago. It is a speech by Toni Morrison as she accepted her award for Literary Services at the PEN Awards presentations in 2008.

Her words struck me as so prophetic and even now, almost a decade later, the message to bloggers, fiction writers, playwrights and poets is as an urgent reminder to not stop writing.

Action is in the word

Toni Morrison has tackled major issues in her writing. In ‘A Mercy’ her theme is the issue of slavery and how some people can assume they have the right to exercise power over unwilling slaves.  Although her novels look at the issue from a black person’s point-of-view, the implications are more wide ranging: while any population seeks to dominate (enslave) another and force their will on them, we will never have peace.

You can see her Amazon Author page HERE.

The word and writers need protection

The message I took away from her PEN award acceptance speech is that authors/writers in any genre, who expose human experience, or name the as yet unnamed activity in the world are activists. They expose the unthinkable; they draw attention to the issues; they awaken people who are in a coma about reality. If you want to hear what she said watch the video below.

Toni Morrison accepts her 2008 PEN award.

So fellow bloggers and writers – keep writing and blogging; keep researching; keep telling your story. You are the key that others will use to dig deeper, to challenge the status quo, and seek a peaceful wise world.

Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author.