Rachel Cohn

NY Times Bestselling Author

So you want to be a writer?

Here's my advice: 

1. Read. All the time read.

2. Try not to think about "the big picture" of completing a longer work like a novel - the prospect can be overwhelming. Try to pace yourself one chapter or story at a time, so that all the smaller goals can be achieved, and eventually result in a bigger one.

3. Go to an isolated place like a library where you can write without distraction - no TV, no phone, no Internet.

4. Promise yourself when you go that isolated place you will write at least 500 words, even if those words are "I don't know what to write" over and over. Almost certainly, the mere act of the typing will turn into the act of storytelling.

5. It is okay to bang your head against your wall/computer/wrist, etc. in complete frustration. Just please be careful. Then go back to trying, trying, trying.

6. Read more.

Good luck!

I need more help with my writing.
Where do I go?

There is so much information out there about how to write a story and get it published that it’s hard to know where to start. I recommend going to your local library or bookseller first, and ask for the most recent editions of these books: Writer's Market, and Jeff Herman's Guide To Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. Both of these books are updated annually and are excellent starting points for learning about writing and publishing.

Ally Carter has published an awesome guidebook: Dear Ally, How Do You Write A Book?

I love this article with essential tips for aspiring novelists.

My brilliant sister Anna, editor and kidlit guru, offers excellent manuscript editorial services.

Here are links for great advice from some awesome authors about writing and the publishing process.

Holly Black Libba Bray Ally Carter Melissa de la Cruz


I appreciate your wanting my opinion, and I wish I could read all the stories by writers who ask me. Unfortunately, I get asked so often and it's just too big a task to read that much. But I thank you for thinking of me and recommend you search for a writing workshop group in your area - and if there isn't one already, start one! Giving and receiving critiques from a fellow group of writers is a great tool for allowing your work to grow.