Posted in Articles

Analyze that Quote: Willa Cather

When embarking on the writing journey, oftentimes, your best teachers are already published writers. Indirectly, through their stories, their style, and even their words of wisdom regarding writing.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
– Willa Cather

I love this quote for its complex simplicity. This isn’t suggesting that you won’t deal with traumatic events or situations that shape you later on in life, that will inspire you to write a masterpiece. Obviously, that happens all the time. However, I believe the author’s referring to a more subtle magic–our tics, our neuroses, our fears, and defense mechanisms–the content that plagues us. That stems from childhood.

For example, my own writing–one theme tends to follow me around a LOT, and no matter what other hurdles my life brings, I think this theme tends to work its way into my stories. Loneliness is huge for me, because I was a pretty lonely kid. And a lot of writers I’ve spoken to happen to leave that same subconscious imprint on their works. Things from childhood sneak into our stories even when we’ve overcome them, because they’re cemented in our psyche.

Best thing to do? Tap into it. Figure out what makes *you* tick and embrace it. Not only will inspiration come more easily, but knowing yourself can help make you stronger as a person.


I split my time writing and working my day job as a massage therapist. If it’s a creative pursuit though, chances are I’ve dabbled in it. Hell, I’ve played around with soapmaking, beer brewing, cupcake baking, tea blending and everything else under the midday sun. At the end of the day, my constant is always reading, writing and editing. I’m an Aries-Taurus cusp–which to any astrology buffs should tell you plenty. I hit the East Coast convention circuit pretty hard and chances are, you can find me vending for Solstice Brews while simultaneously promoting my books.

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