Jack London’s Writing Advice

The tales of Jack London were often thought as crude and violent. They explored the chaos, violence, and characters that modern society would rather forget about. The novel itself was written to shock readers out of their complacency who had read other stories before it.

Jack London’s writing advice is to “write what you know.” This means that he wrote about his experiences and life. He also had a very interesting story of how he survived a shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean. Read more in detail here: jack london.

Jack london head shot looking off into distance.

Note from the editor: The following is an extract from an essay Jack London wrote for a writing journal. However, the concepts he explains are applicable to both authors and non-writers.

“On a Writer’s Life Philosophy” Jack London’s work 1899, The Editor

This term, “a philosophy of life,” will now be difficult to define precisely. To begin with, it does not imply a particular ideology. It is unconcerned with issues such as the soul’s past and future torment, the double and single standard of morality for men and women, women’s economic freedom, the possibility of hereditary characteristics, spiritualism, reincarnation, temperance, and so on. But, in some ways, it is concerned with all of these, as well as all of the other ruts and stumbling blocks that face the man or woman who really lives. In other words, it is not an abstract or ideal philosophy of life, but a practical one.

This philosophy has been held by every consistently successful writer. It was a unique point of view for him. It was a standard, or a set of standards, by which he judged everything that came to his attention. He utilized it to concentrate the characters he drew and the concepts he said. His work was sensible, normal, and new as a result of it. It was something different, something the rest of the world wanted to hear. It was his, not a jumbled recitation of what the rest of the world had previously heard.

But make no doubt about that. Possession of such a philosophy does not imply a willingness to succumb to the didactic tendency. Because one may have strong opinions on any topic, this is no reason for him to bombard the public ear with a book with a purpose, and it is no reason for him not to. However, it should be noted that the writer’s ideology seldom reveals itself in a desire to move the world to one side or the other of any issue. Few great authors have been avowedly didactic, while others, like Robert Louis Stevenson, have placed themselves almost entirely into their writing, without ever giving the notion that they had anything to teach, in a strong and sensitive way. Many people have utilized their philosophy as a hidden weapon time and time again. They shaped idea, story, and character with its help, such that it was all-pervasive in the end result while remaining invisible.

And it must be recognized that such a working philosophy allows the writer to include not only himself, but also that which is not himself but is examined and assessed by him, into his work. This is especially true of Shakespeare, Geothe, and Balzac, the trio of intellectual titans. Each was completely unique, and there was no way to compare them. Each had derived his own working philosophy from this shop. And they do their task according to their own personal standards. They must have been pretty identical to all other newborns at birth, but they learned something from the world and its customs that their peers did not. And it was nothing more nor less than a statement.


Now, young writer, do you have anything to say, or do you just believe you have something to say? Nothing prevents you from stating it if you have. The very shape of thinking is the expression whether you are capable of thinking things that the rest of the world would want to hear.

If you think clearly, you’ll write clearly; if your ideas are valuable, your writing will be valuable as well. If you have a lousy expression, it is because you have a poor idea; if you have a narrow expression, it is because you are narrow. How can you expect a clear statement if your thoughts are muddled and confused? How can your words be wide or logical if your information is scant or unsystematized? How do you bring order out of chaos without a strong core thread or a functioning philosophy? How can you be certain of your foresight and insight? How can you have a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the relative relevance of every piece of information you have? And how can you be yourself if you don’t have all of this? How can you have anything new for the world’s jaded care?

The only way to get this philosophy is to seek it out, to gather the components that make it up from the world’s knowledge and culture. What do you know about the world underneath the surface’s boiling effervescence? What can you know about the bubbles until you understand the forces at play in the caldron’s depths? Is it possible for an artist to create a “Ecce Homo” without having a grasp of Hebrew mythology and history, as well as all the many characteristics that make up the Jew’s character, his beliefs and goals, his emotions and joys, his dreams and fears? Is it possible for a musician to write a “Ride of the Valkyries” without having read any of the major Teutonic epics? You, on the other hand, must study. You must learn to read life’s face with comprehension. To understand the personalities and stages of any movement, you must first understand the spirit that drives individuals and groups to action, gives life and impetus to great ideas, and hangs a John Brown or crucifies a Savior. You need to keep an eye on the inner workings of things. All of this will combine to form your working philosophy, which you will use to measure, weigh, balance, and interpret the world. Individuality is defined as an imprint of personality, a unique point of view.

What do you know about history, biology, evolution, ethics, and the other tens of thousands of fields of study? “However,” you say, “I don’t understand how such things can help me write a romance or a poetry.” Ah, but they will—not directly, but via a series of subtle reactions. They widen your thinking, expand your horizons, and push the boundaries of your area back. They offer you your philosophy, which is unlike anybody else’s, and drive you to think in new ways.


“But the assignment is enormous,” you complain, “and I don’t have time.” Others haven’t been put off by its size. You have complete control over the years of your life. You won’t be able to master everything, but the more you master it, the more efficient you will be and the more attention you will demand from your peers. Time! When you say it’s lacking, you’re referring to its inefficiency in usage. Have you truly mastered the art of reading? How many mediocre short stories and books do you read over the course of a year, hoping to improve your storytelling skills or exercise your critical faculties? How many periodicals do you read completely from cover to cover? There is time for you, time that you have been squandering with a fool’s prodigality—time that will never return. Learn to be discriminating in your reading choices and to skim with caution. You make a snide remark about the doddering graybeard who reads the whole daily newspaper, adverts and all. Is the show you create in attempting to beat the stream of contemporary fiction any less pitiful? But don’t be afraid to try it. Only read the best, and only the best. Don’t complete a story just because you started it. Always keep in mind that you’re a writer first, last, and always. Remember that these are the words of others, and if you read them entirely, you will not only misunderstand them, but you will also run out of topics to write about. Time! If you can’t find time, rest confident that the rest of the world won’t either.



Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write like Jack London?

A: The best way to do this is by using the immersion in your writing. Keep yourself immersed and write with a focus on what you have experienced yourself so far.

What was Jack London philosophy?

A: Jack London is an author of American literature and social activist.
You can only be free if you are willing to help others become free.

What influenced Jack Londons writing?

A: Jack Londons writing is heavily influenced by the works of George Orwell. This can be seen in his dystopian themes, a constant fear of privacy invasion, and an emphasis on war as being a catalyst for change.

Related Tags

  • gifts for writers
  • writers and lovers book
  • on writing stephen king