Monday, June 16, 2014

Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life

I just finished reading THE LITERARY LADIES GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE by Nava Atlas.  A writer friend of mine told me about one of the metaphors Madeleine L'Engle uses about letting her ideas simmer slowly, with several pots cooking at once, she drops ideas in each one until the pot is full and then brings it to the front of the stove. That's the story she begins to write. I really enjoyed it!

[On Writing] "To work on a book is for me very much the same thing as to pray. Both involve discipline... Ultimately, when you are writing, you stop thinking and write what you hear." 
~ Madeleine L'Engle

Some of the authors that Atlas shares with us include Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Virginia Woolf, Edith Warton and many more notable women writers. What I found most amazing was from the mid 1600's to today all women writers struggle with writing time, developing a voice, recognition of their work, fighting inner demons, handling rejection, making money and finding inspiration. They found their stories in not only day-to-day issues, but global ones as well. From letters and interviews we learn a lot about these classic authors. And personally, it warmed my heart to see that we still share the insecurity and the heady excitement as such esteemed authors.

[On Reviews] "You read these things, you hear them, you face them as you would face any misfortune, with as much good grace as you can summon. Success or failure, you go on to the next piece of work at hand." ~Edna Ferber

We're all familiar with Uncle Tom's Cabin, A Wrinkle in Time, My Antonia, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women, A Room of One's Own, just to name a few of the notable works we've been hearing about since we were children. Many we've read or seen the motion picture, so the stories and characters are familiar.

[On Writing] "Risk is essential. It's scary. Every time I sit down and start the first page of a novel I am risking failure." ~ Madeleine L'Engle

I like to think that what Jacqui, Susan, Maggie, Mary and I are trying to do at Author Expressions is similar. Sharing our experiences and encouraging other authors along the path. I hope you'll ask questions, share ideas and concerns with us and keep the discussion going. And if you get a chance to read this book, it's a good glimpse into the lives of some of the greats.

Enjoy the journey my author friends.


Jacqueline Seewald said...


I just read your excellent post. This sounds like a wonderful book. I particularly like Edna Ferber's comment regarding reviews. There are always going to be bad reviews along with the good ones. We writers are sensitive people but it's best if we try note to fixate on negativity. As Ferber said, we should go on to the next piece of writing. And she was a very talented writer in her day.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I just found this post (don't know how I missed it earlier), and I love the sound of this book, good advice from those who have gone before. I've put it on my TBR list.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Thanks for popping by and commenting. Happy Writing!