Three famous women writers and their writing routines

Jane Austen

(1775-1817)

Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814) is a great example of someone that managed to thrive in a setting that seems to oppose the myth of privacy and solitude of the artist. Austen didn’t write in her room; there were seldom any opportunities for privacy in her cottage in Chawton, England. She lived with her mother, her sister, a close friend and three servants, in a household that would constantly be flooded with guests. Consequently, Jane Austen grew used to writing in small sheets of paper that could be easily hidden or covered when an unexpected guest made an appearance. Austen rose from bed before any of the other women in the house, played the piano, and organized the family breakfast to take place at nine in the morning. Breakfast was one of Austen’s main tasks in the household. After that, she settled down to write in the family’s sitting room until the afternoon. Her afternoons were spent reading aloud from novels, moments in which Austen would read her writings to her family. The vast amount of time that Jane Austen managed to invest in her writing was, in part, thanks to her sister Cassandra, who shouldered the majority of Jane Austen’s household chores. This was a major alleviation for the author, who once wrote “Composition seems to me impossible with a head full of joints of mutton & doses of rhubarb.”

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Writer’s block and how to overcome it

Writer’s block is a common experience for those who dedicate themselves to writing. More often than not, the biographies of our favourite authors are filled with anecdotes of dry spells, droughts of inspiration and creative infertility, all of which points towards an unacknowledged, often ignored truth: no one is free from the writer’s curse, and every writer has to devise their own way of breaking it, even if only momentarily.