Writing Advice from Classic Authors

Merci, Colette: How the Legendary French Author Continues to Inspire

This heartwarming essay by Tyler Scott is an homage to Colette (1873 – 1954), the bold and fearless French author, and discusses how she continues to inspire writers at any stage of practice:

In the fraught year of 2020, I had been too addled and worried to write very much. After a career as a freelancer, I started to wonder if things had ground to a halt. Was this the end of the line for me? After all that work? All that research? All those accolades? As Claudia Emerson, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and onetime classmate told me, “Sometimes it’s just easier to quit.”

So, what opened my eyes, jolted my imagination, made me grab a pen and pick up my dusty journal? Colette. Thanks to a famous French author, I am writing again for the first time in months. Read More→


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Octavia Butler’s Rules for Writers: Wisdom for Every Stage of Practice

Octavia E. Butler (1947 – 2006), the esteemed American author of science fiction, broke ground in the white male-dominated world of science fiction.  Here we’ll explore Octavia Butler’s rules for writers, with wisdom for every wordsmith no matter where you are on the journey.

Butler was one of the first women and one of the first African-Americans to succeed in the genre of sci-fi. To break through in this realm, she had to blaze her own trail, and became rigorously self-disciplined in her writing practice. She stuck to a strict schedule, sometimes rising at 2:00 am to write for several hours before heading out to whatever odd job she held before becoming a full-time author. Read More→


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Dear Literary Ladies, Part One: Writing Advice From Classic Women Authors

Wouldn’t it be great to get writing advice from women authors — some of the most iconic voices in literature — even (or especially) those who are no longer with us? Here’s your chance!

In this first of a multi-part series of roundups we call “Dear Literary Ladies,” we’ve “asked” classic women authors some of the universal questions about writing and the writer’s life, and found the answers in their first-person musings.

Peering through the lens of the past is an intriguing way to examine issues and questions that linger into the present. It’s now easier and more acceptable for women to write both for pleasure as well as profit, to be sure. Read More→


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Get Your Words Into the World

Literary Ladies Guide is pleased to announce the publication of Get Your Words Into the World: Comparing and Navigating Today’s Publishing Options, From Traditional to Self-Publishing and Everything in Between. This concise guide will help you sort out what path might be best for you and presents lots of free resources and links, whether you’re looking for an agent, thinking of being an “indie author,” or tempted to try short-run printing.

You’ll find plenty of “how to write a book” books, plus plenty of advice on websites. There’s also tons of advice on marketing your book once it’s produced. This book tackles the in-between part — navigating the various publishing options available in today’s ever-changing publishing landscape. Read More→


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Madeleine L’Engle: “A Wrinkle in Time Was Almost Never Published”

I would challenge anyone to come up with a story that better illustrates the fine line between rejection and acceptance than Madeleine L’Engle’s: “A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published,” she wrote. “You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. When we’d run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up.”

Most editors thought it was too dark and complex for children. After some time, L’Engle made contact with John Farrar of Farrar Straus Giroux through a friend, and the rest is publishing history. Read More→


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