At a Loss for Words: What I’ve Learned After 3 Years as a Writer

Magali Roman has been the lead content writer and editor of Rikumo Journal since 2015. As she prepares to leave behind her full time position to pursue new opportunities, she reflects on what she has learned during her time with us.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer, by definition, loves to write. And yet, like any other modern love story, the mere presence of love does not necessarily guarantee an easy relationship. Spend enough time around a writer and you might be surprised at how little time most of us spend actually writing. Words might be the writer’s weapon of choice, but there is nothing a writer is more skilled at than wasting time. Between stress, creative blocks, editing clashes, and the constant threat of digital distractions, putting pen to paper can feel more like a bloodbath than a calling. Ironically, one of the most common characteristics of writers is how often they find themselves at a loss for words. So why do we do it?

Well, the answer is multilayered. Writers write because we have a point of view; because we have overactive imaginations, because we’re curious about the world around us, because we like to read and nobody else is writing about the things we like to read about.  On a good day, writing can make you feel like you’re the master of the universe (because you kind of are, on the page). On a bad day, writing feels like the intellectual equivalent of dragging a metal detector over the shore, kicking at the ground in frustration, and getting sand blown in your face.

Today, I say goodbye to three years of being at a constant loss for words. When I began to plan what  Rikumo Journal would become, I had little more than an elementary grasp of Japanese culture. There was so much I wanted to learn about, and little clue where to start. I drafted this online journal with a simple mission: to fill in those blank spaces. With every story pitch and every blank editorial calendar, I asked myself what I, as a reader, would be interested in learning more about. Then, I went out and found the answers. Rikumo Journal’s guiding mission has always been to follow our curiosities; it’s the reason why we cover everything from classical Japanese poetry to the best matcha desserts. We do this because we know that when we become curious about the outside world, we often end up discovering something new about ourselves.

So we write stories. We write stories about loss, tradition, dreams, and hope. We write ghost stories, love stories, coming-of-age stories. In the process, we learn more about each other, our world, and our place within it. To write is to live a thousand lifetimes. To write is to meet yourself over and over again. I can’t imagine a more exhilirating way to spend my life.

Magali Roman is a writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was previously the Content Marketing Associate at Rikumo and editor of Rikumo Journal.