Diana Gabaldon: Celebrating 30 years of writing

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly
Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly /

March marks the 30th anniversary of Diana Gabaldon starting her writing career. If it wasn’t for her, Outlander wouldn’t be here and it would be an empty world without it.

On March 6, 1988, Diana Gabaldon decided it was time to pick up a pen and start writing. Creating the world of Outlander, it was all for practice. This wasn’t something she set out to make a novel that would sell internationally and be turned into a TV series right off the bat.

Without Gabaldon making this decision, we would never have had the first novel “Outlander” (or “Cross-Stitch” as it was titled in the UK). We would never have the world of Claire and Jamie, with the romance, the time travel, and the real life. Lord John Grey, Laoghaire MacKenzie, Jenny and Ian Murray, Fergus Claudel Fraser…these would all be lost to us and the world would be empty without them.

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But Gabaldon did more than just create the world of Outlander and everything that would come after. She became an inspiration to so many others.

Many of us have dreams of writing a novel, right? I know I certainly do. In fact, I have works from my teenage years sitting on Floppy Disks still (those born after around 1995 will possibly have to Google those!) and I even have a connecter drive to use them. Yes, really! I have notepads from the years pre-home PC with scribbles and notes.


The dream of becoming an author is real for many of us, but we don’t have the push to start. Well, okay, it’s not that there’s no push, but there’s a lot of fear and doubt. Why write something that might never see a publisher? What happens if I’m rejected? Won’t people judge me for the words I write?

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They’re all common questions and likely ones that Gabaldon had from the start, but she chose to start Outlander for practice. And sometimes that’s all we need to do. We need to get the pen to paper and start creating the world. As they say, practice makes perfect and it can also make you an international name.

Next: All Diana Gabaldon's books in publishing order

Follow Gabaldon’s example. Start writing to get the practice in and create your world. You never know if it will become the next big thing. And even if it doesn’t, you’ve managed to achieve it and complete your story.

Happy 30th anniversary, Diana Gabaldon! Our world just wouldn’t be the same without you.