Wednesday, July 25, 2012


*I read the picture book You Have To Write by Janet Wong to my students today, day 3 of writing camp (for high school students).  They had to use the title as a prompt and compose a piece using that as a starting point. Here is MY response...(please excuse any typos...this is unedited and raw.)

I have to write?!

The reason has changed over time.
I realize that I have to write
because I agreed
because I committed
because I signed a contract
because I have what might be called the chance of a life time,
the chance I have been waiting for
this opportunity
for my whole life
but but but why why why don’t I feel pumped and excited about that?
why can’t I sit down and write books with ease like I could before?
            before the MFA and before I signed the contract?

I have to write because
I might blow it
I might sabotage myself
I might f- it up
I might not want to
but I have to and I
have to for reasons that
are not the same as


I have to write I say when I am 9 and have my writing studio in our half basement next to the cat box because there’s no other quiet place with full privacy.

I have to write I say when I am in 4th grade and the teacher is making little awards that are supposed to boast our big achievements for the year and mine just says Ambition Is To Be An Author.

I have to write I say in fifth grade when our charge is write a children’s book and I decide to write a short story instead. The teacher accuses me of not writing it by my self. It was 10 pages and called It’s Okay To Cry.

I have to write I say in 6th grade when the Mean Girl tried to ostracize me and my revenge is to write my first full novel. I call it Rivals.

I have to write I say when I am in 8th grade. I’ve moved on to poetry inspired by a boyfriend who kissed me under a tree by the beach.

I have to write I say because when I start high school the changes in my life are so awful and the sadness is so huge the only thing I can do with it that is remotely positive is write and write and write.

I have to write I say when I am 15 and have a chance to study with some of the best at a creative arts camp. I write the first 80 pages of what will eventually be my first novel.

I have to write I say when I am 16 going to Harvard’s summer writing program with teachers like the editor of Boston Magazine and a well-known, award-winning fiction writer.

I have to write I say and I am in college minoring in writing and majoring in English.

I have to write I say and I am 24, getting married. I have to write because time is running out and I haven’t finished that book I started when I was 15.

I have to write I say and I am 28 and pregnant with my first child and I have to write because that finished book has been sitting in my computer now for 4 years and I’m going to publish it.

I have to write I say and I am 33 and committed to an MFA program and writing short story after short story for my thesis.

I have to write I say because I am 35 and starting a literary magazine and I have to write and write and write and edit and edit and edit…

Have. To. Write. Now.



Cheryl said...

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your posts and find them inspiring. I have awarded you a dual blog award: One Lovely Blog and Inspiring Blog. Please stop by my blog to see details.

Hannah R. Goodman said...

Thank you, Cheryl. Just checked out your blog and saw your awesome list of blogs that inspire you. Thanks for including my blog!