1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
3. Don’t romanticize your “vocation.” You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle.” All that matters is what you leave on the page.
4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.
8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
9. Don’t confuse honors with achievement.
10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand, but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
The spirit of the Mighty takes over when you sport a Mighty tee!
Get yours now for a donation of just $15.
Tell us your size (s, m, l, xl), your address and we’ll send your Mighty tee out the same day.
Profession: Graduate Student
Been a volunteer at MW since: 2013
What I do at MW: Workshop Instructor
Favorite authors: Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka
Last book I read: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Book I liked as a kid: As a little kid, anything by Shel Silverstein. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. As a teen, Native Son by Richard Wright, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey.
Quote I like: “Writing for me is control. Nobody tells me what to do. It’s mine. It’s free. It’s a way of thinking. It’s pure knowledge.” – Toni Morrison
Gosh, speaking of volunteering, check this.
Quaizee T. Isham
School: JEVS E3 Power Center
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Here’s what Quaizee has to say about his experience at MW South:
Since starting at Mighty Writers in February, I’ve come to love this program and its atmosphere. My role here is to tutor the children, creating healthy and everlasting bonds. I’m also eager to help with pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.
The skills that make a strong Mighty volunteer are patience and joyfulness. Mighty Writers South (located at 1501 Christian St.) is unique because it’s welcoming, loving and full of life.
Two things that make a Mighty Writer are creativity and a willingness to learn new things. If I could place a Mighty Writers program anywhere, I would put one in Africa. A program like this in Africa would help a lot of children build key skills for the future and give them a place to feel at home.
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”
You’re always there for us. Have been from the beginning.
In 2014 you outdid yourselves.
We’re starting to run out of nice things to say about you.
You were there as volunteers, as donors, as advocates of good writing and storytelling.
You were there because you know what writing can do.
And you were there because you know something else.
Philly kids are the best. Smart and funny. Kind and generous. Simply the coolest. Deserving of our collective Herculean effort.
We reach some 2,000 Philly kids with the power of writing every year. Thanks to you, we’re going to reach a lot more Philly kids in 2015.
We’ll be telling you how real soon. We can barely contain ourselves.
Meantime, thank you. Again. Our Mighty best for a glorious 2015.
As they say on The Wire, be easy.
Executive Director, Mighty Writers
Make a donation of $20. or more to Mighty Writers in someone’s honor (a friend, a family member, a lover of writing), and we will personalize and send a printed Mighty Holiday Card to that person telling of your gift in their name.
Just click the PayPal button below and type in your donation. Where you see the words Add a comment with your donation, type in the name and address of the person you’d like us to honor with a Mighty card.
All cards will be mailed immediately upon receiving your request.