Posted by: chobhi | January 7, 2009

What’s a writer to do??

It started off innocently enough, this writing thing, I mean. I found out several years ago that I did have the capacity to string a bunch of words together and create a short story, some poems and even a long novel that has gone through several rejection letters. Ok, now I am a certified writer with some published and unpublished work. But what am I writing about? I guess I seem to be talking about my childhood and food and experiences as an immigrant. Meanwhile, I hear about global warming, people dying in Gaza, bombings and the life of immigrants without papers.Last time I checked my writings, I seem to be silent about these stories. They do affect me and I am angry, or sad or ready to go the the streets to protest. Then why am I not writing about it? Do I have an obligation as a writer to weave those stories in and bring in my point of view or not? I guess I do. But I also know that there is something inside of me that wishes to compartmentalize my life into writer, activist, quilter, reader, cook and caregiver.

The trick is to find an effortless way to combine these separate rooms into one beautiful house.


  1. I have a friend who blogs at because writing about issues keeps her head from exploding. She’s quite good, too.

    I’ve written a little bit on my LiveJournal [], but I’m always hesitant to write about current events because I worry the editorials to death and then the event is no longer current. [Of course, insecurity has a little to do with the hesitation.]

    Did you accept a personal WordPress blog when you signed up? If so, there’s your testing ground. Just write what’s in your heart and see how it feels.

  2. If it helps at all, I think of my writing life as walking around in a series of different hats. For this hour, I will be a food writer (chef’s toque), then for the next hour I will be a poet (beret), etc. Compartmentalizing in this way does help a great deal!

  3. Often I “warm up” for my writing projects by writing a letter to the editor or a blog post on a current topic. Or perhaps by sending a link for a new action to 25 of my closest friends via email. In this way, I work myself into a writing frame of mind, move away psychically from my everyday language to something a bit more colorful and precise, and also get something off my chest so I can concentrate better on my writing projects.

    Sometimes if a current event really grabs me and shakes relentlessly, I sit down and try to fashion my point of view about it into a poem, flash fiction, or short story. Letting a character spout your spiel is exceptionally liberating–they can go overboard and not worry that no one will invite them to dinner anymore.

    Whatever awakens your passions is worth considering as subject matter!

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