On the Best Advice for Young Writers

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There are so many amazing interviews with authors out there–including a ton of advice that authors have collected on their site in FAQ pages. Some of that advice is from authors who are no longer with us.

I’ve collected some of that advice in these posts, and organized them by topic. It’s a quick way to see some of the great advice out there on a particular subject, but if you want even more advice and great interviews, click on the links beside each quote.

Here, I’ve collected together quotes for the topic: “On the Best Advice for Young Writers.”


The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary. And it’s a lot of fun! And also, start by writing about things you know – your own experiences, your own feelings. That’s what I do.”

J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Interview


“I have advice in just a few words. The first, of course, is to read. It’s surprising how many people think they want to be writers but they don’t really like to read books.And the second is to write, every day, whether you like it or not. Screw inspiration. The third is to forget about talent, whether or not you have any. Because it doesn’t really matter. I mean, I have a relative who is extremely gifted musically, but chooses not to play music for a living. It is her pleasure, but it is not her living. And it could have been. She’s gifted; she’s been doing it ever since she was a small child and everyone has always been impressed with her. On the other hand, I don’t feel that I have any particularliterarytalent at all. It was what I wanted to do, and I followed what I wanted to do, as opposed to getting a job doing something that would make more money, but it would make me miserable. This is the advice that I generally give to people who are thinking about becoming writers.”

Octavia Butler, Speculative Fictions Interview


“Write. I hear from a lot of people who believe they have a story to tell but they’re intimidated by the blank page. Just start and keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try, but you have to get it on the page. You can always change it, improve it, rearrange it later. Then, once you have a story and think you want to send your baby out into the big world, you have to educate yourself about the business of publishing. Writing is an art, but publishing is a business with specific rules and requirements. You might have the next great American novel, but if you don’t know where to send it or how to present it, you won’t succeed.”

Tami Hoag, Tami Hoag’s Site


“I think the more that you send your work out, the more chance you have to have it published. My advice is to read literary magazines to discover the ones that you like and the ones that you feel would be a good fit for you, and then send out your stories. I think it’s really important to read the magazine before you submit to it, even though the first magazine I ever submitted to I didn’t read…I think the most important thing is to think about the fact that writers write. And that you can’t put it off until everything is perfect because nothing ever is perfect.”

Alice Hoffman, Writer Mag Interview


“Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get published. Learning to write well is the main thing. If you try to publish before you’re ready you can wind up very discouraged. While you’re learning to write you should have fun with it. Try different styles, different genres, mess about, get your hands dirty!”

Justine Larbalestier, Justine Larbalestier’s Site


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