Living at Chawton Cottage – via Jane Austen

Be A Novelist Getting to Know Jane Austen

In recent years, an entire generation who might never have read a Jane Austen novel has come to know her through the many movies made from Austen’s novels.

I not only loved her novels, but was privileged to write Jane’s biography for the Chelsea House Publishing BioCritique series. I relished the opportunity to spend time with Jane and walk with her through the struggles of her life. All she ever wanted was a quiet place where she could write, but, as a single young woman, she was obliged to go where her family led her. She disliked the endless hours of shopping, entertaining, and traveling. To her restless soul, it was an unbearable waste of time. Writing time.

Jane at Chawton

Eventually, due to the turn of several different circumstances Jane, her mother, and her sister Cassandra, came to live on the Chawton Estate which belonged to Jane’s brother, Edward. Here, in smaller cottage (what came to be known as Chawton Cottage), Jane at long last had the space, the privacy, and the time to write. Quoting from the book I authored:

          A noisy thoroughfare just outside the front step, and yet Chawton Cottage afforded the quiet sanctuary that Jane’s writer-soul had longed after for many years.

I empathized with Jane. I too was a single woman who had limited resources. While I had to work to earn a living, all I ever wanted to do was write novels. After experiencing Jane by writing her biography, I began to dream that one day I would find my Chawton Cottage. I kept seeing it somewhere out there in the dim, distant future.

My Chawton Cottage

It took a few years, but one day the epiphany struck me! My Chawton Cottage would have to be where I deemed it to be. And my Chawton Cottage Be A Novelistexperience would, by necessity, be when I deemed it to be. The searching was over.

Today, many novels later, Chawton Cottage is me. It’s my heart, my soul, my attitude, and my fortitude and resolve. It’s not a place where I live; it’s the spirit (like Jane’s indomitable spirit) that lives within me.

Have you found your Chawton Cottage?


In the six-month writing course that I call the Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge we talk a great deal about what might stand in the way of your novel creation! It will be like looking into a mirror as you see yourself more clearly. This course offers six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Details right here!

Be A Novelist


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