Madeleine L'Engle's Best Writing Advice

Madeleine L'Engle is one of those talented writers that figured out the best way to inspire kids was by writing challenging, but extraordinary books we'll never forget. These Madeleine L'Engle quotes about reading and writing have inspired me throughout the years.

A Wrinkle in Time is hands down one of my favorite books of all time, and I don't care that it's middle grade reading level. In fact, that's part of what makes it so great. Even though I didn't get a chance to read her work until I finished high school, it became clear that her books were going to inspire me as a writer and a reader for the rest of my life.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, $4.77, Amazon

While her writing is beautiful and adventurous, her advice — specifically on writing — is worth living by. For writers just beginning their careers and writers who have been in this game for quite some time, L'Engle's words of advice will help you keep your chin up and pen moving.

While working on your novel or short story or your next article, keep in mind that your words and story matters. These 14 writing tips from Madeleine L'Engle can help:

1. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

2. “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”

3. “Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith. Faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

4. “When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.”

5. “A book comes and says, 'Write me.”

6. “I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what.”

7. “Stories are like children. They grow in their own way. ”

8. “It's not my brain that's writing the book, it's these hands of mine.”

9. “Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail. If an ant fails, it's dead. But we're allowed to learn from our mistakes and from our failures. And that's how I learn, by falling flat on my face and picking myself up and starting all over again.”

10. “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.

11. “The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness.”

12. "Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it."

13. "Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling."

14. “I have advice for people who want to write. I don't care whether they're 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write.”

Images: Giphy (14); Goodreads