Writing Advice from Classic Authors

10 Inspiring Thoughts on Writing by Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001), the respected Southern American author, was known for her ability to capture a sense of place in her novels, stories, and memoirs. Her work explores the separateness of individuals, the character of communities, family relationships, and the healing potential of love.

Welty’s writing style varied, but with no doubt ever that she was in command of her craft. Her stories and novels can be seen as quaint and understated or else wonderfully strange and funny. Here are some inspiring thoughts on writing by Eudora Welty (most, fittingly, from her 2002 book On Writing), sure to encourage writers no matter where they are on their journeys. 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. 

Note from Literary Ladies:  For the most part, Brande used the gendered pronoun he/him/his in the original essay unless specifically referring to a female, as was the style of the time. Literary Ladies has changed those to female pronouns. Since the majority of our audience is female, it rings more relatable to the ear of our readers. I hope that Ms. Brande, may she rest in peace, will understand. And now, the excerpt by Dorothea Brande: 

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 herself which can, in part, be taught. Read More→

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5 Pieces of Writing Wisdom from Willa Cather

Willa Cather (1873-1947) was a craftswoman of the written word. Known for their stark beauty and spare language, her novels reflected her philosophy that writing is a craft to be honed and perfected. Cather’s considerable writing wisdom has been fully preserved.

She always had a great deal of wisdom to impart on the art of writing. Here’s a sampling, excerpted from several of the numerous interviews she granted (despite her professed disdain for the press and with fame in general) between 1915 and the mid-1920s. Read More→

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The Literary Traditions of Self-Publishing

As a way to avoid or recover from rejection or after having given up on finding a publisher or agent, writers have increasingly turned to self-publishing. Here’s a bit of surprising self-publishing history by some classic authors.

Gone are the days of having to store copious numbers of cartons of unsold books in the garage or under the bed. User-friendly print-on-demand or e-book services allow writers to create books on an as-needed basis, avoiding the pitfalls of overprinting.

Whether the product ends up only in the hands of the author’s mom and cousins or becomes one of the rare successes that sells like wildfire, it’s good to have options. Read More→

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5 Valuable Writing Tips from Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) conducted a writing life that can best be described as one of perseverance. Best known for her award-winning young adult science fiction, particularly A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle offered much wisdom on writing and the writing life in her memoirs.

L’Engle often wrote of the struggles of what the called the triad of “mother-wife-writer.” When she was writing, she felt guilty that she wasn’t doing enough for her children, and when she was mothering, she felt awful that she wasn’t writing. It was typical angst of midcentury mothers, who took on the lion’s share of childrearing.

Famously she wrote of her struggles with literary rejection, especially of A Wrinkle in Time, which ultimately became her most successful work. “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.” Read More→

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