Writing Advice from Classic Authors

10 Books on Writing by Women Writers — for Everyone

Here are 10 books on writing by women writers — informative, instructive, and inspiring. They’re not necessarily written by women for women — in other words, they contain no bias toward any gender.  But, since these books are written from women’s perspectives, that ensures plenty of compassion, patience, and even humor. If you like this post, you may enjoy exploring our treasure trove of writing advice from classic women authors.

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12 Classic Women Authors, 12 Lessons for the Writing Life

Learning how to stay disciplined, grappling with doubt, failure, and rejection, finding one’s voice, struggling to stay solvent—we’ve all dealt with these issues. It’s comforting to know that Charlotte Brontë, George Sand, Louisa May Alcott, and others did, as well. But in the end, it’s not so much about experiencing these obstacles that matters, but overcoming them.

While researching The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, I delved into the letters, journals, and memoirs of classic women authors. I found that certain challenges were just as universal among those who eventually became literary icons as they are among today’s writing women, whether seasoned or aspiring.

Here are twelve nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from each of the twelve classic women authors I’ve grown to know and admire. Read More→


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How Important Is Solitude for Writers?

Virginia Woolf famously wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Leaving aside the question of what a woman writes—fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, journalism or pithy blog posts, just how important is solitude for writers; how critical is it to have a room of one’s own?

In learning about the writing lives of classic women authors, the universality of the issues and struggles all writers experience is striking. Finding quiet time to write and a modicum of privacy was as great a challenge for a nineteenth-century woman, especially those with children, as it is for today’s writing women. Read More→


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10 Inspiring Thoughts by Eudora Welty on Writing

Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001), known for her perceptive sense of place as a Southern American writer, also wrote much about the writing life. Here are some inspiring observations by Eudora Welty on writing, sure to encourage no matter where writers are on their journeys.


Use all the abundance you possess

“We do need to bring to our writing, over and over again, all the abundance we possess. To be able, to be ready, to enter into the minds and hearts of our own people, all of them, to comprehend them (us) and then to make characters and plots in stories that in honesty and with honesty reveal them (ourselves) to us, in whatever situation we live through in our own times: this is the continuing job, and it’s no harder now than it ever was, I suppose. Every writer, like everybody else, thinks he’s living through the crisis of the ages. To write honestly and with all our powers is the least we can do, and the most.” (On Writing, 2002) Read More→


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The Four Difficulties of Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

The Four Difficuties of Becoming A Writer is a segment excerpted from Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (1934), proving that good writing advice is timeless:  

There is a sort of writer’s magic. There is a procedure which many an author has come upon by happy accident or has worked out for himself which can, in part, be taught. To be ready to learn it you will have to go by a rather roundabout way, first considering the main difficulties which you will meet, then embarking on simple, but stringently self-enforced exercises to overcome those difficulties. Last of all you must have faith, or the curiosity, to take one odd piece of advice which will be unlike any of the exhortations that have come your way in classrooms or in textbooks.

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