Go Girl Go: Inspiring and Motivational Quotes from Our Favourite Ladies of Literature

Harper Lee. Credit: Gwydion M. Williams

Harper Lee. Credit: Gwydion M. Williams

Whether you’re on the final stretch of finishing that manuscript, struggling to put pen to paper, or in need of some major motivation to finally query that publisher—we’ve got you.

We’re enlisting the words of some of the wise women who’ve come before us to motivate and inspire you to crush those goals and finally make major moves on your writing career. These ladies know a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and freeing their story, and it’s about time for you to follow suit!


Audre Lorde. Copyright Dagmar Schultz

Audre Lorde. Copyright Dagmar Schultz

1. “When we speak we are afraid that our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

—Audre Lorde

2. “I am no bird; no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
—Charlotte Brontë


3. “The beginning is always today.”
—Mary Shelley

4. “I’d love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
—Maya Angelou

Joan Didion. Copyright 1970 Julian Wasser

Joan Didion. Copyright 1970 Julian Wasser

5. “Do not whine...Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.”
—Joan Didion

6. “We have become the men who we wanted to marry.”
—Gloria Steinem

7. “The best possible thing you can do with your life is to TACKLE THE MOTHERF**KING SH*T OUT OF IT.”
—Cheryl Strayed

Ready to pitch your novel but unsure of where to start? Take a look at our Query Letter services to see how a professional editor can help you craft a persuasive pitch that will keep you out of the slush piles!


8. “Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We are not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job.”
—Jeanette Winterson

Toni Morrison. Image by Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images

Toni Morrison. Image by Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images

9. “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
—Toni Morrison

10. “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
—Margaret Atwood

11. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
—Harper Lee

12. “Before the moon I am, what a woman is, a woman of power, a woman’s power, deeper than the roots of trees, deeper than the roots of islands, older than the Making, older than the moon.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin

13. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
—Ayn Rand

Virginia Woolf. Image by George C. Beresford/Getty Images

Virginia Woolf. Image by George C. Beresford/Getty Images

14. “Literature is impoverished beyond our counting by the doors that have been shut upon women.”
—Virginia Woolf

15. “Writing is a kind of revenge against circumstance too: bad luck, loss, pain. If you make something out of it then you’ve no longer been bested by these events.”
—Louise Glück

16. “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness because I deserve to be.”

—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Zadie Smith. Photograph by Sebastian Kim

Zadie Smith. Photograph by Sebastian Kim

17. “Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful...and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lovely and complicated wat to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t like by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”
—Zadie Smith

18. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”
—Sylvia Plath

19. “Revision is not going back and fussing around, but going forward into the highly complex and satisfying process of creation.”
—May Sarton

20. “Instructions for living a life:

pay attention
be astonished
tell about it.”
—Mary Oliver

SPINE

Writing about writing.


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BLOG TEAM

KATE JUNIPER   Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. She's inspired, most often, to write about writing and how women (writers) can fix the world. She has a lot of opinions, actually.

KATE JUNIPER

Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. She's inspired, most often, to write about writing and how women (writers) can fix the world. She has a lot of opinions, actually.

HAYLEY EVANS   Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including  Scene 360  and  Illusion Magazine .

HAYLEY EVANS

Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

GEORGIA RUDELOFF   Georgia is JEC's Content Writer, a published poet, and past Poetry Editor for  This Side of West,  Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for  The   Albatross , and Contributing Writer for  The Martlet  and  Saltern Magazine.

GEORGIA RUDELOFF

Georgia is JEC's Content Writer, a published poet, and past Poetry Editor for This Side of West, Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for The Albatross, and Contributing Writer for The Martlet and Saltern Magazine.

JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS   Jaime is a Research Curator at Royal Roads University and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Communications Specialist.

JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS

Jaime is a Research Curator at Royal Roads University and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Communications Specialist.