Paths Are Made by Walking

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Writing Tips

One of the most important books I ever read as a law student was Professor Patricia Williams’ The Alchemy of Race and Rights. The book opens with this line, ‘Since subject position is everything in my analysis of the law, you deserve to know it’s been a bad day.’

What Prof. Williams is saying right there is: there is no one-way, no right answers in law. It’s all about subject position – in other words, how I see it, where I’m coming from. I know lawyers and legal professors who would scoff at this, believing, that objectivity and certainty are the cornerstones of legal thinking.

Of course, I was a terrible lawyer. A tragic legal thinker. I had empathy, was far too interested in ‘irrelevant’ facts like the stories behind the legal facts, for example that an accused person had been beaten by the ‘victim’ (i.e. her abusive husband) for years before she shot him in the back of his head.


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But critical legal theory was formative for me. It taught me that in all matters of thinking, there are many paths. Writing is no different. There is no one way to write, to be inspired, to become a success. There are many ways, and probably the best way is your way.

If you’re like me, you love to read how your favourite authors work, what their writing rituals and habits are, how many hours or words they write. When we’re starting out, we may want to copy them, imagining they must have the magic formula, the objective truth of how it’s done. It’s a fair place to start, but as we mature as writers, we become more conscious of our own processes; and this is when we start to make our own path.

Understanding how we write, how we become inspired and what works for us is part of the writer’s journey. No-one can tell you how your creativity works. No-one can offer a formula that will show you how to work your voice. Trust yourself. Walk your own path.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?


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