Lené Gary

Tips for Writing Your Manifesto

The tips here are geared for writers, but they can be applied to any path.


Think of your writing manifesto as a public statement which includes:

          1) why you write

          2) what threatens your passion (ultimately, your writing life)

          3) why you will continue to write against all odds


-Keep it under 250 words

-Name your manifesto

-Use strong language. Use verbs. Start some sentences with:  I will, It will, and It is

-Try starting a sentence or two with I have decided

-Give your manifesto a specific time frame

-Include one personalized detail from your writing life. It could be your favorite pencil or the kind of journal you prefer. Maybe it’s the kind of music you play in the background when writing or the type of tea you sip before you work. The idea behind this suggestion is to create a very personal and tangible connection to your goal.

-Identify the greatest threat to your passion (because passion fuels one’s creative force). Then, address in your manifesto how you will ameliorate that threat.

-Think about why you write. Then, think about why you don’t write when you’re not writing.

-Ask yourself, Why will I continue to write against all odds?



From Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead ~

To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is all forgotten. To excavate the past because it has been forgotten. To satisfy my desire for revenge. Because I knew I had to keep writing or else I would die. Because to write is to take risks, and it is only by taking risks that we know we are alive. To produce order out of chaos. To delight and instruct (not often found after the early twentieth century, or not in that form). To please myself. To express myself. To express myself beautifully. To create a perfect work of art. To reward the virtuous and punish the guilty; or—the Marquis de Sade defense, used by ironists—vice versa. To hold a mirror up to Nature. To hold a mirror up to the reader. To paint a portrait of society and its ills. To express the unexpressed life of the masses. To name the hitherto unnamed. To defend the human spirit, and human integrity and honor. To thumb my nose at Death. To make money so my children could have shoes.


From Terry Tempest Williams’ essay, “Why I Write” ~

I write myself out of nightmares and into my dreams. . . . I write to listen. . . . I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form words, to say words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient. . . . I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.


Andrea Lampman’s Summer, a manifesto


Books for Inspiration

Burn This Book, Edited by Toni Morrison

Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction, Edited by Will Blythe

The Poets’ Work, Edited by Reginald Gibbons

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard

Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

Why Poetry Matters, Jay Parini

The Writer as Migrant, Ha Jin

Why I Write, George Orwell



Joan Didion’s “Why I Write”

Stephen Elliott’s “Why I Write

  1. […]  Just write your truth.You can find my manifesto here.Not sure how/where to start?  Here are some tips.Do you love this blog?  You can donate here or spread the word by using a share button below! […]

  2. […] you’re interested in writing a manifesto, there’s a tip sheet on the blog to help you brainstorm. If you’d like to submit it for publication on my blog, […]

  3. I would like to quote from your blog in an article I am writing on poetry manifestos for d’Verse Poet’s Pub. Is that ok? I will credit your blog and your name.

    • Hi Gay, Thank you for asking. Yes, please use anything that you find helpful. Cheers, Lené

      • Thank you Lené. It will post on Thursday the 6th at 3pm EST. I used quite a bit and it has links back to your post. It’s a challenge regarding personal manifestos and /or poetic movements. Many thanks again! http://dverse.com — Gay

      • I look forward to reading your post, Gay. Thank you, again. 🙂 Cheers, Lené

  4. […] Gary on the blog bite my manifesto suggests that in writing a personal manifesto you should invent a way to […]

  5. […] Tips for writing your manifesto […]

  6. Hi Lene, great post, and good to have the examples and further reading. I came here for ideas following this week’s wordpress daily post weekly writing challenge. I often ask myself why I want to write when it seems an uphill battle against procrastination, time, writers block etc…perhaps the clarity of putting some words together on why I do it may help overcome the obstacles.

    • Thank you for taking the time to stop by and let me know you found some of the tips helpful. “Uphill battle” is a great description (*smile*). I share that feeling. Best of luck in all things… ~Lené

  7. […] making a forceful case for something (prompt from this DPchallenge, with inspiration from this post on writing a […]

  8. I love the steps given but please I want to have an example of it because I am contesting for SRC WOMEN’S COMMISIONER in my school and I don’t know how to go about it.
    Thank you

  9. […] stance.  It could be as short as a statement, or as long as a book.  (For writers, this article is a great read on how to write your […]

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