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What My Heroes Taught Me About Writing: Zora Neale Hurston

February 21, 2023




Note From Rochelle


Dear Writers,


The results of the survey are in! The top three classes are:

Overcoming Distraction and Focus

How to Overcome Procrastination

Create a Writing Productivity Plan


I’m excited to report that I’ve just scheduled a two-session class on Overcoming Procrastination with my good friend Liesel Teversham, an expert in EFT Therapy. Together, we’ll help you overcome your emotional and intellectual blocks and write. Here’s the link to sign up: OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION.


And the number one service you’re looking for is an accountability group. You’re in luck! The next accountability group starts April 27. This is an amazing way to stay committed to your writing and learn more about you and your writing life and style: WRITING ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP.


More classes and offerings coming soon. If you need specific help, contact me for a consultation:


Today’s post offers writing inspiration from Zora Neale Hurston. She was a creative and productive writer who persisted through multiple challenges to succeed as a writer.



Happy writing,

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



What My Heroes Taught Me About Writing:

Zora Neale Hurston

By Rochelle Melander


When I researched Mightier Than the Sword, I found many stories of people who refused to quit. When I feel like giving up, I return to their stories for encouragement. This week, I’ve been thinking about Zora Neale Hurston.


When Zora was 13 years old, her mother died, and her father sent her to boarding school. She worked to pay for her room and board, but she was eventually expelled for not paying her tuition. She spent the next five years living with various family members. When she turned 19, she joined a traveling musical and ended up in Baltimore. Although she was 26, she attended high school, finding a way to get the education she had missed


From there, she attended Howard University and Barnard College, earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Zora juggled multiple projects in different disciplines. Enrolled in a graduate program, she researched Black folklore. She created and staged plays from the folklore she collected, believing that drama was “pure [Black] expression.”


Hurston was incredibly creative and productive. She published two books of folklore, four novels, an autobiography and many short stories, plays, and articles. Hurston was not only a writer, she also educated others about the arts. In 1934, she established a school of dramatic arts at Bethune-Cookman College.


Despite publishing regularly, Zora didn’t make enough money to from her writing to live on. She took many jobs to support herself so she could persist at writing, including waitress, manicurist, maid, caretaker, college drama teacher, college literature teacher, folklorist, librarian, ghostwriter.


In her book, Dust Tracks on a Road, she wrote:


“Perhaps it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself ‘Why?’ afterward than before. Anyway, the force of somewhere in space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”

Your turn

Where do you need to persist in your work? What or who would help you do that?






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