Elizabeth Acevedo’s open letter to writers of colour

my name is Elizabeth Acevedo and I am
the author of The Poet X and I want to share with you if you are a writer of
color my top tip on what I think is going to
be really pivotal to keep in mind I’m often asked by writers of color you know, ‘how did you make it here?’ ‘how did you get to this position?’ and the number
one thing is no one is an overnight success. You grind and your hustle and
eventually people catch up to where you are and what I mean by that is: I am very
specific in my voice. When I write I want it to sound like me, if that means Spanish, if that means slang, if that means syntactical approaches that aren’t comfortable for
certain readers, I’m okay with that because my second thing I keep in mind
is always audience. I know exactly who I’m writing for and who I’m writing
towards and that specificity of how I write and why I write makes it so that
when other folks arrive who maybe aren’t of the same intergroup that I’m in,
they’re able to see something that feels really true and really honest but it
means that that first audience who I was always writing to also feels like home
and so my following was really small at first – just a hundred people who like
my poetry and then that grew to a thousand people will follow me online
and then that group of people will follow me into books but it all became
because the voice that I was carrying was the same voice throughout and folks
knew that when they came to my work they were going to find something that felt
real and so don’t worry about appealing to the masses just be super specific and
the masses will arrive

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