John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, or J. R. R. Tolkien as most readers know him, is the writer who gave us the epic saga Lord of the Rings at a time where fantasy sagas were long gone. The epic fantasy story we all love first began in 1937, but it was only finished in 1949. However, the first readers had to wait until 1954 to get to buy the first book of the famous trilogy.

In the world of writers, especially at a time where there was no other way than to print-publish, you sometimes have to wait several years before finding not only a literary agent who believes in your work but also a publisher who is willing to take a risk with your manuscript. It’s fair to say, however, that in the case of the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien produced a 9,250-page-long manuscript, which developed over the course of the writing into the story we all know. In other words, his phenomenal work and depth of details suffice to justify the delays in creating the Middle-earth saga. Truth be told, Tolkien didn’t make it without help. For aspiring writers, there is still a lot to learn from Tolkien’s creative work. 

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Tolkien was a linguist before becoming a writer 

First of all, it’s important to understand that Lord of the Rings was designed as a sequel to the Hobbit. Indeed, the first idea was to create a much shorter story. However, Tolkien’s extensive research into the geography and history of Middle-earth to the creation of functioning new languages – not only the Elvish languages but also the languages spoken by the Dwarves, the Black Speech, and the Men – has been an essential part of his writing. It’s fair to say that Tolkien divided his writing time between research and fantasy, and so should modern writers do too. You can nowadays rely on modern tech to figure out how to do split screen on Mac and divide your work into the two main pillars of creativity highlighted by Tolkien. It’s always a good idea to keep your research notes when you’re writing!

If he hadn’t put his health first, we might never have heard of the Hobbit

Tolkien struggled with poor health during the WWI. Many enthusiasts praise his health issues for inspiring him some of the most epic scenes in Lord of the Rings. Tolkien himself has admitted being inspired by his time in the trenches. But, more importantly, if his poor health hadn’t kept him away from the battleground, he wouldn’t have survived the war. There’s no other lesson that taking your time and listening to your body. Your health is your priority as a writer.

His kids kept him creative

Tolkien maintained his creativity by writing Santa letters to his children. He created a variety of stories and characters to entertain them. More importantly, he shared his creative work with them – he finished Lord of the Rings for his son Christopher. Sharing your writing keeps you focused. You can get valuable feedback and also find your inspiration. 

There is a lot to learn from many of the most inspiring writers. However, Tolkien offers a new perspective on researching and creating. His dedication to making an imaginary world feel real to himself and his children is what makes Lord of the Rings so magical.