Ataria reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This journal entry for Te Papa Tupu is a week late. Late, late, late, late. As one of the selected writers for Te Papa Tupu, we have only a few jobs. To work on our manuscript and write one blog post per month. ONE. You might think this is not a lot. That would be a true statement. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, I haven’t been able to write this because I don’t have anything to write about. I haven’t been feeling inspired; lately, no juicy revelation has spurred me on to journal blog writing paradise. Maybe I’ve lost all my enthusiasm. Perhaps I’m just overwhelmed by it all.

I suppose I should write about how amazing it is to be part of Te Papa Tupu. How amazing it would be to be a published writer, or even better, a professional paid-writer. Making a career out of something I love. Except sometimes I wonder, would life be any better if I was paid to write every single day? What if I didn’t feel inspired… like I don’t right now? Would being paid to put pen to page, provide any more impetus than being a part of the Te Papa Tupu does now? Would sitting in an office or shed, every day with my computer provide me with the writing life that I think I want?

Nothing is perfect that much I’ve learnt on this journey. My flight from Wellington to Auckland for the second Te Papa Tupu workshop was cancelled. Cancelled. Eagerly, I was dropped at Wellington airport at 7 am in the morning for an 8 am flight. Sadly, I didn’t arrive into Auckland until 5 pm, missing the entire workshop. A workshop that just happened to be with Indigenous Australian author Dr Anita Heiss and Māori author Dr Paula Morris. This totally sucked. But it happened. No, I didn’t get to meet Anita Heiss. I didn’t get to catch up with my mentor. There was no second Te Papa Tupu workshop (at least for me).

See things aren’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. The challenge is, how do we keep writing amongst the imperfection? Or is that the point. Are we meant to capture the flaws of life in our writing? Are our lives imperfect and even the perfect writing life incomplete, because without imperfection we wouldn’t have anything to write about, nothing to inspire, nothing to piss off or annoy, get the blood boiling the heart-pumping.

Why do I write? To escape. To create the worlds that I want to live in. Create the worlds that other authors haven’t yet created for me. Do I care if people read my worlds? Not so much as I care that I got to experience it. Maybe that’s what writing is about. Escaping. Escaping the imperfection, the mistakes, the missed workshops, the cancelled flights, the letdowns, the lack of inspiration. Escaping it all into a good book, or even better, into my own writing.


Ataria Rangipikitia Sharman (Tapuika, Ngāpuhi) loves writing. Sometimes what she writes is good and sometimes it isn’t. But she persists nevertheless, in the form of essays, poetry and articles. Ataria’s writing has been published on E-Tangata and you can follow her poetry on Instagram @atariarangipikitia.

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