March is a busy month, don’t you think? It’s a month that celebrates both International Women’s Day and World Book Day. Because of this, we’ll be using the Monthly Writing Theme to celebrate women writers. In addition to the usual writing prompts, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favourite women writers and the words they used to change the world.
“There are as many sorts of women as there are women.”
– Murasaki Shikibu
Did you know that the first novel was written by a woman? In medieval Japan, women were discouraged from writing as it was seen as a masculine pursuit. Copying out the blocky Japanese characters was considered unseemly and unladylike. So Japanese women responded by creating their own, more feminine style of writing and turning out stories of romance and court scandals. One of these became The Tales of Genji, written by court lady Murasaki Shikibu. Today, you can visit the temple in Kyoto where Murasaki is enshrined and celebrated as the world’s first novelist.
“As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.”
– Virginia Woolf
I know that lying in bed and doing nothing is the dream these days, what with the busy lives we all lead. However, would you feel the same way if you couldn’t read a book, binge watch Netflix or even get up to make a snack? If you were a woman of a “nervous” disposition in the early 20th century, you would probably be subjected to the infamous “Rest Cure.” This was a medical practice that encouraged women to do absolutely nothing – not even the things they enjoyed. I don’t know about you, but as a writer, not being able to pick up your pen and express your thoughts must have been torture. It inspired many former patients, including Virginia Woolf, to write in protest of it.
Do you have a favourite women writer? Please comment below.
Share any stories that you’ve written from these prompts down in the comments or tweet them at me @tonimoth. I can’t wait to see what you create!
Check out the Monthly Theme page for more prompts and writing inspiration.