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Writing Tips From The Best Female Authors

It wasn’t so long ago that women wrote under a man’s name and even today, female authors are still paid less than their male counterparts. To mark International Women’s Day (March 8th), I’m putting female authors in the spotlight. In this post, I've also included a FREE downloadable guide which includes 30 days of writing prompts to help stimulate your creativity and improve your craft. You can access it here.

Toni Morrison - Figure out how you work best.

I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves, what does the ideal [writing] room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?”

Hillary Mantel - Write a book you'd like to read.

“If you wouldn't read it, why would anybody else? Don't write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book's ready.”

Source: The Guardian

Elizabeth Gilbert - Practise self-forgiveness

“As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of overrated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: ‘I’m going to write for an hour every day,’ and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realise is that all writers think they suck.

Ann Patchett - It takes dedication and commitment

“Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration?”

Bernardine Evaristo - Stay positive

“My secret was to write down affirmations and I thoroughly recommend doing this. You note down your goal as if you’ve already achieved it, and it needs to be personal, positive

and in the present tense. Let’s say you’re working on a novel and you want to eventually get it published, then your affirmation might read: ‘I am so happy that my novel is now successfully published.’ You are imagining the reality you want even before you’ve completed the book. If you write: ‘I am desperate to get published’, it won’t work because you’re focusing on your frustration. It’s all about developing a positive mental attitude. With one, you’re better equipped to ride out life’s disappointments and focus on the next challenge.”

Source: Red Magazine

Kiley Reid - Don’t turn to your phone

“Set realistic goals, not just: “I want to write more.” Make lists and try your best to complete them. If you get stuck, just sit and think about it. Don’t turn to your phone.”

Source: Zoella

Margaret Atwood - Read widely

​​”What you read is as important as what you write.”

Elena Ferrante - Write the unexpected

“I pay attention to every system of conventions and expectations, above all literary conventions and the expectations they generate in readers. But that law-abiding side of me, sooner or later, has to face my disobedient side. And, in the end, the latter always wins.”

Source: Vanity Fair

Isabel Allende - Observe others and take notes

“If we listen to another person’s story, if we tell our own story ... we realise that the similarities that bring us together are many more than the differences that separate us.”

Source: The Atlantic

JK Rowling - Be courageous

“Fear of failure is the saddest reason on earth not to do what you were meant to do. I finally found the courage to start submitting my first book to agents and publishers at a time when I felt a conspicuous failure. Only then did I decide that I was going to try this one thing that I always suspected I could do, and, if it didn’t work out, well, I'd faced worse and survived. Ultimately, wouldn’t you rather be the person who actually finished the project you’re dreaming about, rather than the one who talks about ‘always having wanted to’?”

Don’t forget to download your FREE 30 Days Of Writing Prompts guide and if you know of any writers who would find this information useful, then please feel free to share using the icons below.



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I'm Karen, a best-selling novelist who left her corporate life to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I've written everything from travel articles to web copy before winning a novel writing competition which led to a 3-book deal. 


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