When I’m feeling despair nipping at my heels I go online and write something that’s almost an antidote to that. I write the words that I want to hear.

—Esmé Weijun Wang

How to be a Creative Warrior

on rejection, artistic jealousy, resilience, and the stubborn optimism required to do your creative work in this world.

Esmé Weijun Wang is a writer and essayist whose debut novel, “The Border of Paradise,” was named one of NPR’s best books of 2016. She runs an online business, esmewang.com, where she “provides resources for ambitious people living with limitations.” Esmé lives in San Francisco with her husband.



“I love the idea of writing novels the way I do as a kind of resilience because it does take resilience to be a writer…. I actually did write over 200 pages of a completely separate novel that is never going to be published. I’d written it over a number of years.


One day I finally read the sound and the fury by Faulkner and as soon as I finished reading it I threw away the whole novel. I realized I wanted to be more ambitious with my writing.


In some ways you could say, “Wow, what a waste of all those years and all that time you spent writing those hundreds of pages.”


And in a way it was. Nothing got saved from that novel. I’m never going to publish it. Not a single sentence from that work is going to appear in anything else I publish because I don’t believe in it. It’s not a work that I’m proud of. But I can also say that writing that novel taught me a lot about writing, in the doing, and I carry that with me.” -Esmé Weijun Wang

The practical stuff...

To read Esmé's morning routine and creativity practices: