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1. You have to let go of the bad to make room for the good.
I was in a hellish relationship a few years ago, but I swear, the moment I said goodbye, all these blessings started flowing into my life. It was like God was holding a bag of blessings and I was holding a bag of shit, and when I let go of my bag, God was like, "Here you go."
2. Silence is the start.
Playwrights are the most gregarious writers—to get our work done, we need actors, directors, set designers. So whenever I have to go back into my writing cocoon, I get a little scared to be alone. But that's when the voices come to you. Silence is the start.
3. You can only be you—nothing more, nothing less.
When I was 21, I went to a Q&A with the playwright August Wilson. I grabbed the microphone and said, "August Wilson, I want to be just like you." The audience cracked up. I don't know if they thought it was cute or ludicrous or both. In the years since, I've cultivated my own voice. I'll never be August Wilson—but what I can be is more of myself.
4. If you see a void, it's up to you to fill it.
When I was studying theater in 2002, my acting partner—also a young black woman—and I were supposed to act out a scene in which the characters matched our type. We couldn't find even one scene of one play that featured two black women talking. I was like, Well, I have to write them. That was the turning point of my career.
5. We all need support.
Cultivating relationships with people who've achieved what you want to achieve makes the path fuller and more fun. You don't know everything, and that is so okay, because there are many people who want to help you along your journey. I used to think people above me might get jealous because I wanted to do what they did. But no, people are much nicer than that.
More Life Lessons and Wisdom
From the November 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!