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Writing Tips and Quips From the Great Fitzgeralds

Need inspiration and courage to keep writing? Heed the great authors of the days of yore. These writing tips and quips are from Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (he wrote the classic The Great Gatsby).

If you want to be a writer, read How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown. There’s only so much digging into the past of famous authors you can do…sooner or later, you have to learn how to write!

In this article, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald have commandeered my attention. I’m reading The Great Gatsby for not one but two book clubs, and the introduction contains a metaphorical ton of inspiration, hope, and courage for writers who are empty and dry. Or bored and tired. Or both.

Writing Tips and Quips From the Great Fitzgeralds

An un-encouraging, de-motivating quip from Zelda

“By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determined the future.” – Zelda Fitzgerald.

What does this mean to you? To me, it reeks of despair and helplessness! I hear Zelda saying that by the time we’re smart and old enough to figure out where we want to go in life, it’s too late.

I’d rather wrap myself in George Eliot’s quip: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

But maybe Zelda was speaking her own truth about her own life.

Here’s what PBS says: “Perhaps if Zelda had focused on just one form of artistic expression, she would have found her own success and fame independent of her marriage to a famous author. Her accomplishments are still impressive, especially when one takes the context of her life into consideration. As an icon of the Jazz Age, she struggled against her traditional southern upbringing and its societal constraints to create a new, independent identity not just for herself, but for all American women.” – from PBS – Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Biographies.

Zelda pursued ballet, writing, and painting. She was very artistic and creative – but she didn’t pursue one thing single-mindedly. She was incredibly talented, though, and hugely influential in Scott Fitzgerald’s writing. In the introduction to Gatsby,  Scott said he had a bad habit of “referring everything to Zelda.” She provided much of the material for his novels and short stories throughout their relationship; he “frequently quoted her and her letters directly, using her words as the voice for several of his female characters” (quote from PBS).

What writing tips, inspiration, and courage can you pull from the late great Zelda? Think. Write your thoughts below.

Sometimes it’s too much work to do the work! If you want more clarity and direction from published writers, read Writing Quips and Tips From Famous Authors.

Writing tips from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Did you know Fitzgerald was disappointed by The Great Gatsby’s book sales? His novel sold less than half of what he hope (he had expressed a hope for 75,000 sales, and had sold far less than that when he died). He blamed the failure of his book on a bad title and no important female characters in the book.

Scott Fitzgerald said his bad habits included laziness, word consciousness, and self-doubt. Sound familiar? That’s me and you, fellow scribes. We struggle with the same things, don’t we? If you’re lazy, read my tips for lazy writers. Scott would approve.

quotes scott zelda fitzgerald

This photo of the Fitzgeralds’ grave reminds me that life is short, and NOW is all we have.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your die has been cast, your future set, and you’ll never achieve your writing goals! Stay focused and single minded, accept that discouragement and rejection are part of every writer’s life.

If you tend to get distracted from your goals, read How to Stay Focused on What Matters.

If you have no writing goals, read Examples of SMART Goals for Writers.

Do you want write for a living? Join the Writers Work Community and get professional career training, writing tools, an online portfolio, and more.

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Then turn off your wireless connection and write whatever you’ve been called to write! Trust your heart, soul, and fingers to steer you the right way.

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