This week, we lost an incredible writer. Toni Morrison was a novelist, essayist, editor, professor, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her perhaps most well-known book, Beloved, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.
5 Inspiring Writing Quotes From African American Authors
In honor of Toni Morrison, I want to share five quotes from Black authors that are sure to give you the push you need to write something fantastic.
1. Write the Story the World Is Missing
It seems strange that even with the countless novels available to us all over the world, there are still gaping holes in every genre. And it can be incredibly frustrating when what you want to read most doesn’t seem to exist. Chances are, you’re not the only one who feels that way.
Here’s a little secret: you can be the one to fill that hole. If something is missing in your genre of choice, be the solution to that problem.
2. Tell Your Untold Stories
Everyone has a story inside them they can and must tell, even if they don’t know it yet. No one story is the same, which means you and only you can tell the one sitting inside your head and heart, waiting to be written.
Sit someplace quiet and listen. What story is inside you right now, begging to be told?
3. Resilience Is Key
“Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I’m serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.” —Tiffany D. Jackson
With writing comes rejection. No author can truly escape it. No author places in every contest, wins the heart of every agent, or tops every book list there is.
Is all the rejection still worth the end result? Absolutely. Challenges strengthen you. If you can take everything life has to throw at you, you can get right back up and prove you have a story worth telling.
4. Don't Worry About Other People
“People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don't worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson
Everyone’s a critic and it’s impossible to stop other people’s judgments. But guess what? It’s not your problem.
Sort out what comments are just plain negative and which ones are constructive criticism. Only take to heart what’s going to help you learn and grow as a writer. The rest you can forget about. They’ll only bog you down.
5. Hold Fast to Dreams
Dreams and desires are what motivate us. Without motivation, we wouldn’t get anywhere. Creativity and productivity can all be fueled by passion.
What sparks that drive in you? Find it and hold onto it. It’s a powerful and priceless thing.
Your Turn to Write—And Read
What stories do these quotes inspire in you? Take time now to write them down.
And if you haven't yet, be sure to take a look at these writers' works. Here are some books to get you started:
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
Who are your favorite Black authors? Let us know in the comments below and help us all discover more writers.
Take one of the quotes from above and think about how it applies to you. How can you use it to grow as a writer? Save it along with some of your other favorite quotes somewhere easily accessible, like a Word document or a Pinterest board.
With that inspiration mulling around in your head, write for fifteen minutes. You can work on your work in progress, or start a new story. Share your practice in the comments once you’ve finished, if you’d like. Don’t forget to give your fellow writers some love, too!