In 1903, Jack London skyrocketed to fame with the publication of The Call of the Wild. Three years later, readers greeted the publication of White Fang with similar enthusiasm, helping to establish London as one of the most popular American writers and the highest paid of the 1900s.
An article in The New Yorker notes, “By 1913, he was making more than ten thousand dollars a month, nearly a quarter of a million in today’s money.” But London’s success did not happen overnight. In order to write The Call of the Wild and White Fang, he drew on his experiences in the Yukon in the 1890s when he was living in poverty.
In an article in Literary Hub about London’s Alaskan cabin, Joy Lazendorfer writes:
In 1898, Jack London was trapped in an Alaskan cabin while, outside, winter froze everything to icy stillness. ‘Nothing stirred,’ he wrote later. ‘The Yukon slept under a coat of ice three feet thick.’ London, then 22, had come to Alaska to make his fortune in the gold rush, but all he’d found was a small amount of dust worth $4.50. A diet of bacon, beans, and bread had given him scurvy. His gums bled, his joints ached, and his teeth were loose. London decided that, if he lived, he would no longer try to rise above poverty through physical labor. Instead, he would become a writer. So he carved into the cabin wall the words ‘Jack London Miner Author Jan 27, 1898.’
Obviously, London was determined to become a successful writer. But the odds seemed stacked against him. Not only was he poor, but he also had no literary connections or literary background.
How was he eventually able to find success?
Luckily for us fellow writers, London shared the secrets of how he learned to write, persevere, and become a famous author. In a 1905 article for The Editor magazine, he explained exactly how he got into print.
In today’s blog post, I’ve collected seven tips from this article that we can use to improve our own writing. Read on for London’s writerly wisdom.[Read more…]