5 Lessons for Writers from Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy

While the current season may be off to a patchy start, Sons of Anarchy is still a high quality series. In the weeks leading up to the start of Season 6, the Mr and I spent many waking moments working our way through a marathon of back-to-back episodes (an intense, but rewarding way to catch up on any TV series).

A show about an outlaw motorcycle club based in the fictional Californian town of Charming, may not be an obvious place to gain insights into the practice of writing … but sometimes inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places.

Sons of Anarchy

Inspired by his late father’s memoir and looking for a way to make sense of his growing disenchantment with the business direction of the SAMCRO motorcycle club, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) starts documenting his thoughts and hopes for the future. Ultimately written for the benefit of his sons, his writing offers not just a personal form of therapy, but also gives insight into who Jackson is as a man, a father and a leader.

Here’s five lessons to be learnt from the writing habits of Jax Teller:

  1. You’re never too busy to write. Regardless of what the day throws at you, and despite how busy you think you are, it’s always possible to get some writing done. Does plotting the downfall of your step-father or being the president of a motorcycle club mean you don’t get any writing done? Not a chance.
  2. Good writing requires dedication. Books don’t write themselves overnight, they require regular care and attention. Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page – that’s how books get written. Maybe that means you have to get up earlier than the rest of the household, or perhaps take a time out during the day between family and club responsibilities?
  3. It’s not for everyone, but writing for an audience can help. Keeping a particular audience in mind while you pen your words can be a useful focussing tool. Keeping his sons in mind as he writes, helps Jax to stay consistently ‘on message’.
  4. Writing rarely happens in a crowd. Find quiet space for yourself to make the magic happen. Perhaps that’s on the couch, in your child’s nursery or on the roof of your clubhouse. Wherever it may be, finding a quiet place free from distractions will help you to work more effectively.
  5. Keep your notebook close to hand. You never know when inspiration might strike, so being able to record your thoughts without hesitation means you won’t miss any spontaneous ideas. Keep a notebook stashed on your person or at your work desk – wherever you are, you should always have a means of jotting down your thoughts.

We’re yet to see much writing from Jax so far in Season 6, so perhaps he needs to refer to the list above to get himself back on track. After all, written legacies are often inherently more valuable than even the most lucrative of business deals.


  1. Hila

    “Writing rarely happens in a crowd” – amen to that! I have to be quite brutal about cutting away time in my day to write. Unless I distance myself for a while, and retreat by myself, writing simply doesn’t happen.

    I’ve missed you Tracey, and I’m sorry I haven’t been around your blog – life is annoyingly busy, I wish I had more time these days for blog reading.


    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – Good on your for making the time in your day to write. I’ve been finding myself getting so distracted lately – just when I sit down to type, I think of about a million other things that need doing ‘write that second’. I must become more disciplined and make writing the priority.

      I’ve missed you too Hila … it’s good to be back … and no apologies are necessary for not dropping by sooner … I’m about the most inconsistent blogger and blog visitor ever to have existed. 😉

  2. tinyWOOLF

    fancy that.
    good advice though.
    series unknown to me, as yet.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi tinyWOOLF – Oh I’ve only recently discovered Sons of Anarchy myself … it’s a gritty tale for sure, but surprising in its depth of emotion and sometimes charming depiction of genuine characters.

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