This week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday is dedicated to the world renowned English author Jane Austen. While I haven’t yet read any of her works I certainly plan to. From everything I have read she is regarded as one of the most widely read authors of all time and has an amazing style. Apparently her realism, biting irony and social commentary as well as her acclaimed plots have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Jane Austen, born on December 16, 1775, was not widely known in her own time. It wasn’t until after 1869 that her popularity skyrocketed. Her work includes just six novels but due to their timelessness have been adapted into many movies, television shows, and modern adaptations, as well as being translated into multiple languages.
Her most popular novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and are considered literary classics. And her other works have gone on to become a model for all modern romances to follow.
“I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”
Ever since I decided that one day I’d like to become a writer I have felt both self-conscious and a bit discouraged by my own lack of education. I’m not just talking about the fact that I didn’t go to college, I’m talking about the fact that I didn’t even finish high school! How can I even think about being a serious writer when I have had no education on the subject? I mean, you have to have a degree to be an architect, a doctor, a teacher, an accountant, a lawyer, or an engineer, why not to be a writer?
I’m not sure how important higher education is to becoming a writer but I hope to do it without the expense and the time of college. I am getting older now and I just don’t want to waste the years when I could just sit down at my computer and type until my fingers bleed as much as my heart. What more is there to writing than that?
Yes I know, there are rules to writing. There is spelling, and grammar, and structure. You should avoid passive voice, use active verbs, remove adverbs, provide detail, and know your characters. You should use concrete rather than vague language and avoid double negatives. You should vary your sentence and paragraph length and cultivate your own style. I know, I know.
The thing is I learned all of that from reading books on writing and reading books by people who write the same sort of things I want to write. I learned even more from a few simple Google searches. What more could a school teach me? The only benefit I can see for going to school is you pay others to be you critics. You pay someone to help you get better.
That’s the great thing about the internet though, it comes with millions of potential critics. You can create a blog and join groups and ask people to tell you what they think, all for free! The only catch is you have to do a bit of work promoting yourself so that people actually want to read your stuff in order to tell you what they think. That, I have learned, is easier said than done.
I am getting there though, and, like Jane, I take great pride in doing it while being quite unlearned and uninformed.
Original image: https://flic.kr/p/4wVccL