Lessons from Jo March.


Writers can learn a fair amount from fellow creative mind–Josephine March,  the second daughter of the March Family in Louisa M. Alcott’s Little Women.  She suffers through crippling self-doubt and is often caught in the dilemma of knowing what story to tell.  She starts with what sells then morphs into something more.  In the end, the intrepid heroine pours her grief at her sister’s death into telling her family’s story.

Was she writing what she loved or what she feared?

The schools of thought for writing seem to be either write what you love, write what scares you or write what you know…occasionally write what you don’t know.  I’m not certain any or all of it are the best advice.  Then again, advice should always be taken with a healthy dose of internal skepticism.  What works for one might not work for another.

I’m terrified of spiders.

(Not certain I want to write about arachnid spiders).

I’m completely in love with my kindle.

(Maybe a book about transformers in love?)

I’m, of course, being intentionally obtuse.   My real point aside from the absurd is that like Jo March, we should tell the story which speaks to our hearts the most.  Maybe the tale terrifies you, or maybe you adore it.  It might be something you are intimately familiar with, or something you end up researching extensively.  The imporant thing is to share it with the world and be true to yourself.

It’s impossible really to get anywhere with writing that brings satisfaction to your soul if you spend your time writing in an imitation of others.

“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


*Image Citation: “*AC85.Aℓ194L.1869, Houghton Library, Harvard University”