This blog was featured on 09/01/2017
[THE WRITER'S LIFE] Scribbling Women

When I first heard this obviously derogatory reference to women, it was unknown. It was years ago and “damned mob of scribbling women” was penciled into a margin of a long ago journal. At the time it wasn’t familiar, and naturally I was going to lift it out of its obscurity and hold it up for inspection by legions of scribbling women. I would write about it in a blog post and become famous. But I forgot to. Now, of course, every other blog and women’s writing workshop incorporates this phrase into its title.

It comes from Nathaniel Hawthorne in a letter to his publisher, William D. Ticknor, dated January 1855:

"America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash–and should be ashamed of myself if I did succeed."


There are days, and you know it’s true, when the only person you want to be around is another woman. If she’s a writer, so much the better. (But if she’s a reader, that works, too.) If you find a whole bunch of women who write and read to hang out with, you’ve hit the jackpot. I am such a fortunate woman. 

Recently, I had one of those days where nothing I attempted succeeded. The to-do list sat unchecked. Each person I spoke to that morning was frustrating and vague. (Yes, I was making calls about health insurance and Internet issues.) All my plans to get other things done were dashed upon the rocks of bureaucracy. I just wanted to cry. But relief was in sight. I belong to a group of women who meet at each others' homes each Friday afternoon from November to April. The hostess of the week serves high tea and presents a paper that she’s researched and written, chosen from a theme decided upon the year before. The rest of us listen with rapt attention and the paper is typically interesting and thought-provoking. That day I sat with my friends and relaxed in the security that only being around women can bring. Although I whined to my carpool driver on the way over to the meeting, once there, I didn’t have to say a word. There’s an acceptance of each other, a welcoming in that brushes away the day’s irritations and allows one to be resuscitated. Sipping tea from a delicate china cup and nibbling on miniature cucumber sandwiches doesn’t hurt, either. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “Thank God It’s Friday.”

If you can’t slip on a skirt and be a member of a 125-year-old women’s literary society, don’t fret. The same sorority is available via technology (if you can get it to work). For example, the community of writers here at She Writes is like that. A place of acceptance and encouragement for women who write. Our numbers are growing; damned mobs of scribbling women are everywhere, and it’s exhilarating.

There are plenty of blogs within the She Writes community that are funny, insightful, practical, and experienced; let me introduce you, though, to a couple of “outsiders.” The following are blogs written by women I know and whose writing I’ve long admired. It is my pleasure to introduce you to them.

Sometimes, being one of a mob of damned scribbling women is welcome company indeed.

From Elizabeth Thomas, poet and educator: Still Writing
From Trudy Swenson, writer and volunteer: Words from the Stair
From Suzanne Wagner, photographer and minister: Orange Daily Photo
And an “actual” Scribbling Woman, May McGoldrick


Do you have a blog to introduce to us? Feel free to add it here.

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  • Laurine Bruder Writing

    I agree completely with these statements. Finding a community of women writers is the best feeling in the world. ^^ What a lovely post.

  • Kay Rae Chomic

    Loved this post, Cindy!

  • Patricia Robertson

    I have two blogs I've been working on, only started blogging on a regular weekly basis since January. One is about life and writing, other is about the Psalms. Would love to have you check them out. they are on my newly created website I also follow Julie Luek and Meghan Ward from SheWrites, and Shelly Beach, Sandscribblings.

  • Mohana Rajakumar I am a scribbler! And was shocked to see this quote.

  • I love that you all are adding your blogs (or blogs you like) to this post. Days go by, time slips away and I know that for myself, the commitment to post to my blog, much less read someone else's, begins to ebb. It's nice to have a bunch of them all in one place to visit and learn from. Thank you! 

  • Lisa Thomson

    I would also like to add my own blog, Writer's Rant. I post every other Tuesday and write about, well, writing.

  • Carole Bumpus

    I echo these sentiments and also add to your viewing pleasure one of the "outsiders" but not for long. This Adaire Salome-Keatings blog. An amazingly bright and funny blog.

  • Arwa Salah Mahmoud

    I'd like to add my own blog. I give it an Arabic name, Alhurr (The Free) and I explore freedom in all of its facets in my personal experience. It's

    I've finally decided to commit to a weekly posting every Monday. I write about everything from my life between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and a lot of my travels around the world. Like Sheila, I'm still having trouble getting a wider readership so I'd appreciate any tips on that.

  • Sheila K. Collins

    I'd like to add my own blog to your list.It's called Dancing with Everything and it's on my website -  I am most faithful in writing once a week. I post a link on my Facebook pages but I haven't had much luck in people going to it or commenting. Spam finds me quite easily and I have to keep throwing those people off. I do a newsletter once a month through constant contact and when that comes people on my email list often click links to the blogs of the month which are printed along the side. I'd appreciate any suggestions anyone has on how to get people to come to my blog.

  • Gabrielle Burton

    I've just started a blog, Don't Sit Down Yet, in connection with a book I'm writing (of the same name) about aging and living fully until you die. It's on my website and if you have a minute, please visit & tell me what you think. 




  • Trudy Swenson

    Wonderful! Have I mentioned toady how much I love you?