Junot Diaz on the Virtues of Being Stubborn


Junot Diaz, winner of the Pulitzer for my favorite book of the last few years The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, has written a pretty inspiring tale of frustration and perseverance in O Magazine about the process of writing his novel. (Sidenote: The Rumpus linking to O? Is this a first?)

And as I sit here, staring at my stack of 163 pages of crap I’m about to turn in as the final manuscript for my master’s, it made me feel better. Maybe, if you feel like I do right now, it’ll make you feel better too.

“(I)n truth, I didn’t become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. 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. Wasn’t until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am.” (via Brevity)

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →