5 Imaginary Obstacles I Conquer Every Time I Write
Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them, “A writer.” It’s always what I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve never drifted far from that path. And though I truly enjoy it, I often have a difficult time sitting down and actually writing. Since I’m not working on staff for a publication, there’s no one breathing down my neck about deadlines or feeding me any new ideas—it’s something I have to bring myself to do on my own. Yet, there are countless obstacles I notice many writers face whenever they sit down to write.
Here are my top 5:
1. Uninspired Procrastination ModeIf I’m not inspired, then I’ll do it later—I tell myself in order get out of writing. The thing is—if I’m waiting for inspiration, I may be waiting a long while—weeks maybe. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write a few sentences. The rest will come if I sit long enough. Sometimes it won’t- but I might get some good ideas brainstorming.
2. The “Never Good Enough” FearMy writing professor told the class the most depressing thing for a writer to hear: “All the good stories have already been written.” I often worry he was right. I worry that I won’t be able to say anything better than what my Black feminist predecessors and my favorite fiction writers have already said. I worry that my writing is just “okay,” but not great. But I have to snap out of these worries—otherwise I’ll never get passed the first word on my grad school application essays and I’ll never write that awesome book I plan to write one day.
3. Feeling like a fakeSometimes I feel like not a real writer. I’m not published in BigNamePublication, I don’t have any books out, and strangers don’t recognize the name of my blog—so I’m not legit. Then I really start to beat myself up: I’ll never be Toni Morrison or even as good as some of my favorite bloggers. But I have to remind myself that even Toni Morrison started somewhere with a pen, paper and dreams similar to my own.
4. Starving Artist DoomWe all have it—those of us who dream of making a career out of writing. We fear that our work will never take off and we’ll end up living on a street corner near the potheads and on Venice Beach, or worst—stuck in a job we hate because writing didn’t pay the bills. The fear of failure is the worst and the most difficult obstacle I struggle with.
5. “I Don’t Need It” SyndromeI didn’t get any of the writing positions I applied for out of college. Instead, I landed a position at a PR firm, which pays well for my first job out of college. Before I was hired, my only income came from freelance writing. I literally needed to publish articles in order to have funds (Thankfully, my mother didn’t kick me out so I had food and shelter). Now that I no longer financially need to publish—I don’t do it as often. I have a comfortable fallback. But the truth is—I do need it. I’ve always needed it. No other job could ever fully satisfy my inner desire to write. Writing is how I make sense of the world, how I process my thoughts, and eventually- how I’ll become more successful. Writing is my passion—and I cannot let imaginary obstacles get in the way.
Fellow writers: Am I missing anything major? What obstacles do you face when you sit down to write?
Writers note: This post was inspired by the article 5 Invisible Obstacles I Conquer Every Time Run

5 Imaginary Obstacles I Conquer Every Time I Write

Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them, “A writer.” It’s always what I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve never drifted far from that path. And though I truly enjoy it, I often have a difficult time sitting down and actually writing. Since I’m not working on staff for a publication, there’s no one breathing down my neck about deadlines or feeding me any new ideas—it’s something I have to bring myself to do on my own. Yet, there are countless obstacles I notice many writers face whenever they sit down to write.

Here are my top 5:

1. Uninspired Procrastination Mode
If I’m not inspired, then I’ll do it later—I tell myself in order get out of writing. The thing is—if I’m waiting for inspiration, I may be waiting a long while—weeks maybe. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write a few sentences. The rest will come if I sit long enough. Sometimes it won’t- but I might get some good ideas brainstorming.

2. The “Never Good Enough” Fear
My writing professor told the class the most depressing thing for a writer to hear: “All the good stories have already been written.” I often worry he was right. I worry that I won’t be able to say anything better than what my Black feminist predecessors and my favorite fiction writers have already said. I worry that my writing is just “okay,” but not great. But I have to snap out of these worries—otherwise I’ll never get passed the first word on my grad school application essays and I’ll never write that awesome book I plan to write one day.

3. Feeling like a fake
Sometimes I feel like not a real writer. I’m not published in BigNamePublication, I don’t have any books out, and strangers don’t recognize the name of my blog—so I’m not legit. Then I really start to beat myself up: I’ll never be Toni Morrison or even as good as some of my favorite bloggers. But I have to remind myself that even Toni Morrison started somewhere with a pen, paper and dreams similar to my own.

4. Starving Artist Doom
We all have it—those of us who dream of making a career out of writing. We fear that our work will never take off and we’ll end up living on a street corner near the potheads and on Venice Beach, or worst—stuck in a job we hate because writing didn’t pay the bills. The fear of failure is the worst and the most difficult obstacle I struggle with.

5. “I Don’t Need It” Syndrome
I didn’t get any of the writing positions I applied for out of college. Instead, I landed a position at a PR firm, which pays well for my first job out of college. Before I was hired, my only income came from freelance writing. I literally needed to publish articles in order to have funds (Thankfully, my mother didn’t kick me out so I had food and shelter). Now that I no longer financially need to publish—I don’t do it as often. I have a comfortable fallback. But the truth is—I do need it. I’ve always needed it. No other job could ever fully satisfy my inner desire to write. Writing is how I make sense of the world, how I process my thoughts, and eventually- how I’ll become more successful. Writing is my passion—and I cannot let imaginary obstacles get in the way.

Fellow writers: Am I missing anything major? What obstacles do you face when you sit down to write?

Writers note: This post was inspired by the article 5 Invisible Obstacles I Conquer Every Time Run

7 Things That Happen When You’re the Only Black Person at Work

First job out of college and I’m the only black person in the office. It’s been interesting, to say the least.  Here are some of the funny and offensive moments I’m sure a lot of us solo black folks have experienced:
 
1. When you forget to code-switch your language at work.
GIF Oops
2. When your hair becomes a frequent topic of discussion. 
GIF hair
3. When you want to turn down your music in the office parking lot but this Kendrick song is EVERYTHING! GIF Car dance
4. When you’re at a loss for words because your white boss rolled his neck and snapped his fingers in an attempt to act out an “angry black woman.”
GIF 8
GIF Lord
5. When you don’t want to be a stereotype but you’re like “fuck it” and heat up your chicken in the office microwave anyways.
GIF oh well chicken
6. If your parents were a little creative with your name, people feel the need to ask and comment on it.
GIF So 2
7. When you frequently encounter microagressions at work and don’t quite know how to word your response.
GIF 9
Hey Y’all. really need your advice. At work, I’ve had to deal with some semi-racist (aka just plain racist) jokes that aren’t funny.
 
The thing is—there used to be one black woman in the office before I got there. Given the openly racist things that happen, I don’t think she said much about it. But I cannot be that person. I cannot let this go on while I’m at work and it certainly cannot continue after I’m gone. Then the next black person that comes along is going to have to deal with the same shit and will be stuck in this same awkwardness.
 
Some folks need to be told up front that what they’re doing is NOT okay. However, given the very casual, always-joking climate of the office, I’ve found it difficult to switch gears to a more serious tone and voice my opinion.
 
It’s easy to be outspoken with my keyboard, but in person I am sometimes more shy and reserved. I’m new to this office and don’t want to create any tension or drama, but I have to do something about it because it feels wrong not to. I can’t be that person who talks tough on the internet and becomes spineless in person.
 
How should I handle this?
Natural Hair vs. Weaves: It’s Time to End this Battle
Last week, The Root published an article criticizing a meme that made fun of black women who wear weaves.

Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris pointed out that this meme makes various assumptions about black women’s feels about their hair.
Contrary to what I expected, when I scrolled through the comments, tons of people agreed with the meme. Many of them argued that all black women who do not wear their hair in a natural style are struggling with low self-esteem, internalized racism, and self-hate.
In order to pull some folks out of this shallow, misguided thinking, I immediately felt the need to write this post. Let a buzzed-cut girl (who’s been natural her whole life) break it down—because it’s been passed time to end this hair feud.
In defense of weaves and wigs:
Now I won’t sit here and act like internalized racism isn’t an issue in our community. Some people have been taught (at very young ages) that nappy hair is ugly and unkempt. Sometimes weaves, relaxers and other hair trends are an expression of the internalized black hate that has been in our world for centuries.
However, not every girl with a weave has internalized racist views about their hair.
Wearing a weave doesn’t automatically mean you have low self-esteem or self-hate just like wearing natural hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re confident. Michelle Obama wears a weave. So does Janet Mock, Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Beverly Bond (Creator of Black Girls Rock), and many other powerful women. These women have to have a certain level of confidence in order to make it as far as they have.
Oftentimes women wear weaves for protective styling and convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to throw on a cute wig or wear a weave rather than raking through your hair and styling it all the time. Natural styles, including locs, can take quite a bit of time and effort to maintain.
In defense of Naturalistas: 
Being natural isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of courage to be natural in a society that has an all-around hate for natural hair.
Natural girls get very little love in the mainstream, as very few of our major pop stars wear their hair natural when they’re in the spotlight. You hardly find natural hair in Hollywood, fashion, or even the White House (Wouldn’t it be cool to see FLOTUS rockin some double-strand twists). Natural hair is still pretty revolutionary, because unfortunately, our world still has an obsession with European standards of beauty. And unfortunately, our naturalistas are penalized and attacked for wearing their natural hair in various situations. Locs and afros are often viewed as unprofessional in a work environment, several private schools have banned little black girls from wearing afro puffs, and black women in the military have recently faced stricter regulations on certain natural styles.
Yet, natural hair has become on-trend lately. Tons of women are having the Big Chop, there beauty bloggers, tons of Pintrest, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts dedicated to natural hair.
Yes, we do need to teach that black hair is beautiful when it’s in its natural state, but we don’t need to shame others for straighter styles.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both natural hair, weaves, and relaxed hair. People do what works best for them.
At the end of the day, who died and made anybody the hair police? Browsing the internet, you’ll find memes making fun of natural girls and shaming girls with weaves. So whether you wear a weave or your own hair, small-minded people will talk shit either way. If you have a problem with anyone’s hair type or texture, this is all I have to say to you:
Mind ya business, that’s all. Just mind ya business. If it ain’t growing out of your scalp then you have no need to comment or feel any type of way about it.
Read more on black hair at A Womyn’s Worth.

Natural Hair vs. Weaves: It’s Time to End this Battle

Last week, The Root published an article criticizing a meme that made fun of black women who wear weaves.

Weave V. Natural

Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris pointed out that this meme makes various assumptions about black women’s feels about their hair.

Contrary to what I expected, when I scrolled through the comments, tons of people agreed with the meme. Many of them argued that all black women who do not wear their hair in a natural style are struggling with low self-esteem, internalized racism, and self-hate.

In order to pull some folks out of this shallow, misguided thinking, I immediately felt the need to write this post. Let a buzzed-cut girl (who’s been natural her whole life) break it down—because it’s been passed time to end this hair feud.

In defense of weaves and wigs:

Now I won’t sit here and act like internalized racism isn’t an issue in our community. Some people have been taught (at very young ages) that nappy hair is ugly and unkempt. Sometimes weaves, relaxers and other hair trends are an expression of the internalized black hate that has been in our world for centuries.

However, not every girl with a weave has internalized racist views about their hair.

Wearing a weave doesn’t automatically mean you have low self-esteem or self-hate just like wearing natural hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re confident. Michelle Obama wears a weave. So does Janet Mock, Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Beverly Bond (Creator of Black Girls Rock), and many other powerful women. These women have to have a certain level of confidence in order to make it as far as they have.

Oftentimes women wear weaves for protective styling and convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to throw on a cute wig or wear a weave rather than raking through your hair and styling it all the time. Natural styles, including locs, can take quite a bit of time and effort to maintain.

In defense of Naturalistas:

Being natural isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of courage to be natural in a society that has an all-around hate for natural hair.

Natural girls get very little love in the mainstream, as very few of our major pop stars wear their hair natural when they’re in the spotlight. You hardly find natural hair in Hollywood, fashion, or even the White House (Wouldn’t it be cool to see FLOTUS rockin some double-strand twists). Natural hair is still pretty revolutionary, because unfortunately, our world still has an obsession with European standards of beauty. And unfortunately, our naturalistas are penalized and attacked for wearing their natural hair in various situations. Locs and afros are often viewed as unprofessional in a work environment, several private schools have banned little black girls from wearing afro puffs, and black women in the military have recently faced stricter regulations on certain natural styles.

NAT hairYet, natural hair has become on-trend lately. Tons of women are having the Big Chop, there beauty bloggers, tons of Pintrest, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts dedicated to natural hair.

Yes, we do need to teach that black hair is beautiful when it’s in its natural state, but we don’t need to shame others for straighter styles.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both natural hair, weaves, and relaxed hair. People do what works best for them.

At the end of the day, who died and made anybody the hair police? Browsing the internet, you’ll find memes making fun of natural girls and shaming girls with weaves. So whether you wear a weave or your own hair, small-minded people will talk shit either way. If you have a problem with anyone’s hair type or texture, this is all I have to say to you:

Mind ya businessMind ya business, that’s all. Just mind ya business. If it ain’t growing out of your scalp then you have no need to comment or feel any type of way about it.

Read more on black hair at A Womyn’s Worth.

Quote of the Week



Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which takes place in both pre and post-civil war eras, is so relevant today. Hollywood defines women and people of color in typecast roles and saves the world-saving, leading, and positive roles for a white-washed cast. What does that say about us? How does that define people of color?

Read more about boycotting Hollywood, Typecasting, and Whitewashing at awomynsworth.com.
Quote of the Week
Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which takes place in both pre and post-civil war eras, is so relevant today. Hollywood defines women and people of color in typecast roles and saves the world-saving, leading, and positive roles for a white-washed cast. What does that say about us? How does that define people of color?
Read more about boycotting Hollywood, Typecasting, and Whitewashing at awomynsworth.com.
I’m not a “movie person,” but summer always brings a few films I’m excited to see. However, after writing my recent article about Hollywood’s addiction to typecasting, I couldn’t walk into a theater without feeling guilty. Every time I purchased a ticket, my black feminist conscience would yell, “Are you really going to support an industry that doesn’t give a shit about you?”
I ignored her at first, but after the disappointments from the latest movies I’ve seen, X-men: Days of Future Past, Think Like a Man 2, and Godzilla—I’m officially done with Hollywood.
I’ll save my movie money for an industry that isn’t going to regurgitate stereotypes wrapped in lame, white-washed plots.
I have 3 reasons:
1. Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with women.
As a fan of all things alien and futuristic, Transformers is usually right up my alley. But third Transformers, released prior to the latest movie turned me off for good.
The majority of the time, the lead actress screams and runs from Decepticons in high heels. I’m watching the movie yelling “Bitch, if you don’t take off those heels and run like you got some sense.”
And can she do anything else besides scream, run, and act as the distraction while Shia LaBeouf saves the day?
So I refused to see the latest Transformers because I knew it would have all the same hackneyed motifs— and according to a few reviews, I was spot on.
I mean, is anyone else tired of the Damsel in Distress in action films?
Some of these writers need to take note from The Hunger Games series.
Transformers isn’t the only movie that could’ve utilized the female characters better. In X-men: Days of Future Past, the good white men save the day while the women and characters of colors sit and wait. However, in a 90’s cartoon version of Days of Future Past, it is actually Kitty Pryde who goes back in time to save mutants and humans from their horrible future. Xmen with a woman saving the day sounds like a cools concept. Especially considering Pryde’s mutation makes her untouchable, literally.
I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine—but it’s time for a diverse range of characters to take the spotlight.
2. White = Universal
Where are all my black leading characters? Not in action films. Not in sci-fi. Not even in animated films. Oh that’s right: black characters are ghettoized into the black film genre, which currently includes the Think Like a Man series, Tyler Perry films (ugh), and whatever Kevin Hart’s currently starring in.
As for all the other people of color: Y’all don’t even get “race-themed” genres.
Yet, whenever all of the characters in a film are white, directors love to claim that “it’s not about race.” Films like Noah and the Gods of Egypt got a lot of pushback for their majority-white cast.
When asked about the lack of diversity in Noah, Co-writer Handel gives one of worst responses: “What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people.”
And there lies the problem: white is the “stand-in for all people.” Only white skin can represent the whole of our society. This thinking is the very reason why movies are so white, why you hardly ever see Asian male characters in films outside of martial arts films (and Godzilla), and why Halle Berry is the only woman of color ever to receive an Oscar for Best Actress for a leading role.
Let’s get one thing straight: whenever a cast of characters is mostly white, it’s not an accident. If race really didn’t matter, then we would see more diversity. We live in an extremely diverse country with people of origins all over the globe. You just won’t find them on the screen.
READ MORE at awomynsworth.com

I’m not a “movie person,” but summer always brings a few films I’m excited to see. However, after writing my recent article about Hollywood’s addiction to typecasting, I couldn’t walk into a theater without feeling guilty. Every time I purchased a ticket, my black feminist conscience would yell, “Are you really going to support an industry that doesn’t give a shit about you?”

I ignored her at first, but after the disappointments from the latest movies I’ve seen, X-men: Days of Future Past, Think Like a Man 2, and Godzilla—I’m officially done with Hollywood.

I’ll save my movie money for an industry that isn’t going to regurgitate stereotypes wrapped in lame, white-washed plots.

I have 3 reasons:

1. Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with women.

As a fan of all things alien and futuristic, Transformers is usually right up my alley. But third Transformers, released prior to the latest movie turned me off for good.

The majority of the time, the lead actress screams and runs from Decepticons in high heels. I’m watching the movie yelling “Bitch, if you don’t take off those heels and run like you got some sense.”

And can she do anything else besides scream, run, and act as the distraction while Shia LaBeouf saves the day?

So I refused to see the latest Transformers because I knew it would have all the same hackneyed motifs— and according to a few reviews, I was spot on.

I mean, is anyone else tired of the Damsel in Distress in action films?

Some of these writers need to take note from The Hunger Games series.

Transformers isn’t the only movie that could’ve utilized the female characters better. In X-men: Days of Future Past, the good white men save the day while the women and characters of colors sit and wait. However, in a 90’s cartoon version of Days of Future Past, it is actually Kitty Pryde who goes back in time to save mutants and humans from their horrible future. Xmen with a woman saving the day sounds like a cools concept. Especially considering Pryde’s mutation makes her untouchable, literally.

I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine—but it’s time for a diverse range of characters to take the spotlight.

2. White = Universal

Where are all my black leading characters? Not in action films. Not in sci-fi. Not even in animated films. Oh that’s right: black characters are ghettoized into the black film genre, which currently includes the Think Like a Man series, Tyler Perry films (ugh), and whatever Kevin Hart’s currently starring in.

As for all the other people of color: Y’all don’t even get “race-themed” genres.

Yet, whenever all of the characters in a film are white, directors love to claim that “it’s not about race.” Films like Noah and the Gods of Egypt got a lot of pushback for their majority-white cast.

When asked about the lack of diversity in Noah, Co-writer Handel gives one of worst responses: “What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people.”

And there lies the problem: white is the “stand-in for all people.” Only white skin can represent the whole of our society. This thinking is the very reason why movies are so white, why you hardly ever see Asian male characters in films outside of martial arts films (and Godzilla), and why Halle Berry is the only woman of color ever to receive an Oscar for Best Actress for a leading role.

Let’s get one thing straight: whenever a cast of characters is mostly white, it’s not an accident. If race really didn’t matter, then we would see more diversity. We live in an extremely diverse country with people of origins all over the globe. You just won’t find them on the screen.

READ MORE at awomynsworth.com