How Reading Jane Austen Has Made Me a Better Writer (Guest Post by Bella Putt)

Ladies and gentlemen, I have something very special for you today… A guest post by my dear blogger friend, Bella Putt! I know you’re going to enjoy this post — not just because Jane Austen is an author many of us know and love… but because Bella is an AMAZING writer and she has some wonderful thoughts to share. You can find her lovely blog here. (:

Without further ado, let’s see what wisdom Bella has gleaned from Jane Austen. 

**And don’t forget to check out the guest post I wrote on Bella’s blog. 

There aren’t many people nowadays who read classics. People see them as long and boring, and they would much rather read the newest YA contemporary or fantasy.

I’m different from most people in that I love reading Jane Austen. So far, I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but Jane Austen is already one of my favorite authors! Between her gorgeous prose, memorable characters, and heartwarming themes, I become quickly wrapped up in her books and can hardly set them down.

But Jane Austen’s books haven’t only brought me many hours of joy. They’ve also taught me many things I couldn’t have learned from reading the newest popular release. Her stories have helped me learn more about the Victorian era, and—perhaps most importantly—they’ve taught me more about writing.

Now, I don’t only read classics. I read primarily YA fiction, and if I’ve learned anything from YA books (and from other modern fiction that I’ve read), it’s that many books aren’t worth the read. They feel dull and without real meaning, seeming as though they’ve been tossed sloppily together for the sake of making money.

Jane Austen’s books aren’t like this. They’re not meaningless books written for the purpose of cluttering bookshelves and collecting small royalties. If there’s one truth I’ve learned from reading Jane Austen, it’s this: Jane Austen’s writing isn’t sloppy.

Her writing isn’t anything like another author’s work that I might read. I don’t finish her books thinking, “What a nice story.” I finish her books deeply impacted and with new ideas and concepts to think through. And I believe this is the effect books should have on people. This is how I want my readers to think and feel when they walk away from my writing.

“But how is that possible?” you might be asking. “Jane Austen is a classic author with some of the most famous works in history. How could I ever write like her?”

Well, after considering how she uses plot, character, and theme in her stories, I’ve pulled a few tips and observations out of her work, and I want to discuss them briefly as a means of inspiring you to write your novel.

1. Jane Austen shows me how to write with a purpose.

white ceramic mug on black textile

Jane Austen’s stories aren’t written aimlessly and with no goal. They’re written with beautiful themes that—despite being written centuries ago—still deeply impact and affect our lives today.

For example, Pride and Prejudice focuses on the beautiful theme of overcoming your own pride and prejudices to love and accept others.

Sense and Sensibility, on the other hand, portrays the importance of being sensible and the danger of giving in to sensibility.

Both stories are written with clear purposes, with complex plots and strong characters that tie together to demonstrate a beautiful theme. They’re not written just for the sake of being written. They’re written to deeply impact us.

And that’s how we should write. We shouldn’t write just because we want to someday publish a book and achieve the title of “author.” We should write because we have a story to tell. We have a story that will impact others and the way they live. We should write a story that won’t merely fill our readers’ minds with filler pages and empty phrases, but instead write a story that will make our readers rethink their actions and choices. A story that will live with them for the rest of their lives.

2. Jane Austen shows me how to write for myself.

As I mentioned in my last point, Jane Austen writes with a clear purpose, and we should do the same. We shouldn’t write just for the sake of being published but should instead write because we have a story to tell.

And as difficult as it is, writing the story we feel called to write means it might not be accepted by others. There will be times when we feel lost and alone with no one there to support our writing.

And that’s okay. 

If you want to write a book that will deeply impact others, you must first write a book that has deeply impacted you. And that means you must write for yourself rather than for others. You must continue writing the book you feel called to write, even if your work is rejected by the world for a time.

woman sitting beside table using laptop

3. Jane Austen shows me not to shy away from hard topics.

Let me explain.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, when women were viewed with less honor and respect than they now are, many women wouldn’t have had the nerve to stand up for themselves. But Jane Austen did. She wrote novels with strong, independent heroines, who are willing to go against cultural norms of the day to stand up for their rights.

Writing and attempting to publish her works couldn’t have been easy, and she likely had the fear of being rejected by her society. But people loved her work, and she has succeeded in becoming one of the most popular authors of all time.

This example from Jane Austen’s life should be a huge encouragement to us. Her life as an author shows that it’s okay to write about hard topics that people may not agree with. In fact, writing about the hard things will likely impact people even more. It will encourage them not to shy away from the hard topics themselves and to stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard.

I hope these observations I’ve made from Jane Austen’s work are as encouraging for you as they were for me! If you’ve never been interested in reading Jane Austen’s novels, I hope you’re now more willing to read her incredible work.

Bella Putt is a passionate writer, an excessive reader, and a born-again Christian. She’s been writing since she was about six years old, jotting down short stories whenever ideas popped into her head. Now, as a girl pursuing the writing dream, her ultimate goal is to use her words to honor God. 

When she’s not writing, Bella spends her time reading, blogging, listening to music, hanging out with friends, and running cross country.

You can find her blog here.

Did you find Bella’s thoughts as fascinating as I did? How has Jane Austen impacted you? Has she influenced the way you read/write stories?

**Don’t forget to read my guest post on Bella’s blog.



20 responses to “How Reading Jane Austen Has Made Me a Better Writer (Guest Post by Bella Putt)”

    • Thank you! I think PRIDE & PREJUDICE would be a fantastic start! (: But after you read that, you should check out Sense & Sensibility and Emma. All that to say, her books can be read in any order. They’re all priceless! Find what interests you the most and read that. However – if you take my advice – I’d start with P&P. (;

          • Hey girl! I’m nearly finished reading a book called Maggsie McNaughton’s Second Chance – Maggsie is in the middle of serving her prison sentence when she is offered a home with others like herself, as well as a kitchen hand job. It’s a lovely read following her journey adapting to life out of prison, making friends, working and correcting her wrongs. Will post a review when I’ve finished!
            What about you? 💕

          • Oh, it sounds good! I’ll have to add it to pick it up sometime (: Well, I just finished AND THEN THERE WERE NONE which was amazing! If you enjoy a good mystery novel, do give it a read! Even if you don’t – it’s still worth it. The suspense, the characters, the WHOLE CONCEPT is fantastic. And Agatha Christie is a brilliant writer. The ending will blow your mind! Anyway, enough of me raving about it xD Aside from that, I’m currently reading North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell… and I plan to pick up Pride & Prejudice sometime in December (a re-read is due). If you ever want to chat books or have any book recommendations, you can always comment on a post or shoot me an email. (; Have a wonderful day, Chels!

          • I shall look them up! Sounds awesome. Do you re read books a lot? I can’t think if I’ve ever done that or not before! How do you find a book second time around? 😊

            Thank you! Sounds good, enjoy your day!

          • Well… if I’m not busy burrowing through my TBR and I feel the longing to pick up a book I’ve read previously for a re-read — I do. Though I generally wait for a year to pass (at least) before I reread one, so the story isn’t as fresh in my mind and I can enjoy it. If I love the book, I’ll definitely love the re-read! And there is a lot one misses during the first read… I’m always discovering new things the second time through. (: Blessings!

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