Life Advice from Successful Writing Renegades

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To the Trailblazers,

The road you walk only seems lonely and uncertain at times because you are the first person to travel it. No one else has lived in your shoes, felt the depths of your emotions or seen the world through your sparkling eyes. Which is exactly why we need all you’ve got! Lean into the motivational words of encourage and life advice from these successful renegade writers. Does your hero/heroine make the cut? Maybe your work will be next! 

Maybe you find yourself in a season of doubting your gifts or feeling like your impact isn’t big enough. These groundbreaking authors and poets below have surely felt that way at one point or another. And yet, they persisted. No matter what you’re feeling— loneliness, fear, despair, trust you are exactly where you are supposed to be. There’s never been a better time for you to shatter expectations and share your magic. So, maybe no one you know has walked your exact path. But perhaps, you share a few steps on the road less traveled with a few of these renegades. Here are some words of wisdom from a few of the most inspiring writers sure to help you stay the course!

Virginia Woolf

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Of course, your first bit of life advice from successful renegade writers comes from Virginia Woolf. Not just a renegade at the time, but queen of narration. The vibrantly passionate Virginia Woolf let her voice ring throughout her work with confidence and conviction. Woolf openly questioned why women were conditioned to be submissive in nature while also speaking out on her political beliefs. Woolf’s words shook the literary world in the 20th century, a time in which women were meant to be seen and never heard.

“You cannot find piece by avoiding life”
“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its color, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery.” — From “A Room of One’s Own

Bell Hooks

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This fierce feminist, poet, and culture critic led the way for transformation to ripple through society. Bell hooks, catapulted Second Wave Feminism forward in the 1980s and 90s by discussing the overlap of social classifications and their effect on the feminist movement. Regardless of how one feels about her thoughts and beliefs, hooks stood firmly rooted in her passion for equality causing her poignant views to echo on today, challenging the minds of readers. Soak up this life advice from success!

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”
“The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. More than ever before we, as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling.”
“When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth. It’s not what you do but how you do it.”

Alex Haley

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Peeling back the layers to the African American experience in every piece of his work, Haley proudly gave voice to both the struggles and triumphs. This trailblazer articulated the changes and similarities of racial experiences over generations in his 1976 success, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. His work inspired the African American community to dive into their genealogy while also aiding to ease racial tensions of the times. But most importantly, Haley believed that we can never venture forward as individuals or a people if we do not understand where we’ve been.

“Find the good, and praise it.”
“The way to succeed is never quit. Thats it. But really be humble about it.”
“We all suffer. If a man’s wise, he learns from it.”

Sandra Cisneros

Photo Credit: Jay L. Clendenin and Los Angeles Times

Honoring her ancestors in all she does has been a way of life for Sandra Cisneros. This Mexican-American writer narrates themes of identity, gender, class, and race. But most of all, Cisneros honors the duality found within her everyday life as a Mexican-American woman. Her unique writing styles allow readers to peer into the lives of multiple characters, sharing viewpoints from all walks of life, just as in the real world. A woman this dedicated to honoring and accepting all parts of herself and others has surely had her share of challenges. Yet, Sandra Cisneros remains a writer confidently embracing her literary gifts and graciously following wherever they make take her next!

“I try to be as honest about what I see and to speak rather than be silent, especially if it means I can save lives, or serve humanity.”
“And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn’t be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window.” –  FromThe House on Mango Street
“I’ve put up with too much, too long, and now I’m just too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything less.”
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Quick Hitting Life Advice from Successful Renegade Writers

(For an extra dose of encouragement)


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” – C.S. Lewis

“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”– Ernest Hemingway

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” —Audre Lorde

“Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.” – Brene Brown

“Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

“Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.” —Stephen Chbosky

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” —Maya Angelou

“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” —​Rumi