Dear Literary Ladies

Dear Literary Ladies,
How can you guage, in the midst of writing, if your work is any good? It’s so hard to be objective, and see the forest from the trees. Should I compare my writing with that of other writers I admire?

Since we must and do write each in our own way, we may during actual writing get more lasting instruction not from another’s work, whatever its blessings, however better it is than ours, but from our own poor scratched-over pages. For these we can hold up to life. That is, we are born with a mind and heart to hold each page up to and to ask: Is it valid?

—Eudora Welty, from the essay “Words into Fiction,” 1965

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Dear Literary Ladies,
Do you think it’s a good practice to keep a journal? What did you use your journal for, and how did it benefit your writing practice?

One of the most helpful tools a writer has is [her] journals. Whenever someone asks how to become an author, I suggest keeping a journal. A journal is not a diary, where you record the weather and the engagements of the day. A journal is a notebook in which one can, hopefully, be ontological. Read More→

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How can a writer improve her craft?

By | On Mar 15, 2015 | Comments (2)

Dear Literary Ladies,
What advice would you give a writer wanting to improve her craft? I read so many books on writing, and every one of them offers different techniques. Also, how long can I expect to work at this until I see results? Read More→

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Dear Literary Ladies,
Do you think women writers are (or should be) judged by different standards than men?

To value praise or stand in awe of blame we must respect the source whence the praise and blame proceed, and I do not respect an inconsistent critic. He says, “If Jane Eyre be the production of a woman, she must be a woman unsexed.’ Read More→

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Does one need connections to get published?

By | On Mar 01, 2015 | Comments (0)

Dear Literary Ladies,
I’ve often heard it said that “it’s who you know that matters.” Well, I don’t know anyone in the publishing world. Does that mean my work doesn’t stand a chance of being looked at seriously?

There is no easy road. “Pull” will not help. Knowing an editor, or a publisher, or a successful writer, or having a friend who knows one, will not make up for a poor manuscript. Do not write to editors, or established writers asking them to criticize your work, or for help or advice in getting your book or story published. They are unable to help you, even if they were willing to spend half their working hours trying to assist the beginner. Your work must speak for itself. Read More→

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