Young H. G. Wells Exemplified the Struggling Writer

I am a devout lover of literary biographies and have read a great many over the years. My introduction to H. G. Wells came by way of Lovat Dickson’s book H. G. Wells; His Turbulent Life and Times. Dickson, a Canadian, lived for many years in London where he worked for the prestigious publishers Macmillan & Company. His job brought him into Wells’ circle and the two men became well acquainted. This publishing relationship allows Dickson to present Wells as a writer vividly.

Young H. G. Wells portrait photo

Young H. G. Wells is a good example of the writer of modest means struggling to write full time. (Photo: public domain)

Wells’ early days as a would-be author are a fascinating portrait of a young ambitious writer of limited means. Like many other lower-class writers of the late 19th century, Wells faced early poverty and waged long struggles with his family as he tried to break free of their limited worldview and escape from his lowly origins. Even now, it is still true that most families cannot conceive of writing as a legitimate career. Today’s young writers are still fighting the battles Wells had to fight.

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Dedicating Your Life to Writing

Robert Louis Stevenson writng at his desk.

Unable to sway his obstinate father, young Robert Louis Stevenson had to justify to himself his decision to pursue writing rather than a more realistic means of earning a living. (Image: public domain)

The Dedicated Writer

Not all writers want to dedicate their lives to their art, but as Virginia Woolf has noted, many people who write want to do nothing else. Those who love literary biographies can attest to the remark’s salient truth. Are you among those for whom the urge to write is so strong it eclipses all other ambitions? If you are, then you have – whether you consciously realize this or not – joined those who want to dedicate their lives to art. Give this some thought. The single most effective way to enhance your work’s power is to have a clear understanding of what you want and what you are doing.

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