The Writing is the Ball


In an excerpt from Why We Write About Ourselves, National Book Award-winner James McBride writes about that question, among other things—the ethics of memoir writing, diversity in publishing, the necessity of struggle, writing in the age of Twitter—and shares some advice for aspiring memoirists:

Be wildly ambitious about your writing, and forget the stuff connected to writing.To use a sports meta­phor: keep your eye on the ball. Publishing is not the ball. Getting an agent is not the ball. Winning the National Book Award is not the ball. The writing is the ball.

Kyle Williams is a student at Brooklyn College, studying creative writing and literature. You can find more from him on Tumblr at, but don't feel like you have to. More from this author →