Advice For Aspiring Black Writers, From Black Writers

It’s lit

In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called UNAPOLOGETIC. Every day, we’ll celebrate different aspects of black culture through profiles, interviews, roundtables, reviews, videos, and op-eds. #Blacklivesmatter and we hold that truth to be self-evident.

For any person of color trying to navigate a predominantly white space, things can get, well, lonely. But more than that, things can seem hopeless, especially for those starting out. When you don’t see people who look like you succeeding, it’s hard to picture yourself doing the same.  

Luckily, the publishing space is becoming browner. There are more and more black men and women authors putting out work that reflects their experiences, and getting the recognition they deserve for it.

To help those in need of a little push, we reached out to some of said authors and had them share what advice they’d give to aspiring black writers. The tidbits range from the practical (keep writing), to the political (use the written word to communicate with the oppressed).

Read their words, ahead.

Natashia Deon, author of Grace

"Write magic. Write the story you’d love to read but most of all, write the story you feel you must write because no one can do it like you can. Even on days you’re sure that’s a lie. Write as if no one has ever written on the subject before. The same is not identical. Learn the difference by reading, living, and traveling, even if that's just to the town next door. Discover the thing that only you, because of your life and experience, would know. Three people standing in the same room watching the same event will experience it differently. Show us why God put you in that room. Show us the piece of the puzzle that only you’re holding. Help humanity to understand itself better. We need your wisdom. But if you’re writing primarily to make money and not for the art, the significant responsibility, or the love, forget everything I’ve just said and simply do what’s been done well before and build a platform that’ll get you seen."