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So You Want to Be a Writer?: Teen Writing Guide: Home

A writing guide for teens aimed at writers of any skill level, from those who are just getting started on their writing journey to those who have been writing for some time.

Writing: Where to Start?

When you want to be a writer, it may seem daunting to get started. Perhaps you've been reading for years and you feel like no matter what you do your work will never match up to that of the authors whom you love. Perhaps you've been writing stories since you were a little kid, and you want to do something more with your writing but your just not sure what the next step should be. Perhaps you've never written anything before, and you want to start, or you want to try writing something completely different than anything you've every written before.

I'm going to let you in on a secret...

There isn't one right way to write. You can call yourself a writer as long as you are putting words down on paper with a pen or spilling your thoughts through a keyboard into some safe space on a computer. Even writing in the notes app on your phone counts as writing. The first step to becoming a writer, is simple to write.

So you want to be a writer?

"if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
....

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was."

-From "so you want to be a writer" by Charles Bukowski

In This Guide

In this guide you'll find a place to help you with writing, regardless of which stage in the writing process you're at

Writing Resources

Books, websites, podcasts, and more from authors and experts talking about craft, publishing, and everything in between.

The Path to Publication

Whether you want to submit to a traditional publishing house, are looking for a place to send your latest short story, or want to write a story tailored for a prompt. Find publications and contests requesting work from teen writers.

Writing at the Library

When it comes to writing, the library staff wants to help you achieve your goals. Find out how to use our resources and help you grow and develop as a writer.

Moving Forward with Writing

With your resources assembled, this page offers a variety of resources as you continue your writing journey, including resources related to undergraduate and graduate degrees in creative writing.

Create a Community

Many writers are open about the fact that while writing seems like a solo effort, it actually takes a village. Check out our discussion forums to connect with other teen writers and start to create your own writing community.

Resource Citations

All the resources from this guide collected in one convenient location with full citations and hyperlinks to online resources.

Where are you at in your writing journey?

Where are you at in your writing journey?
Just getting started: 0 votes (0%)
Looking for a place to publish: 0 votes (0%)
Trying to find people to talk about writing with: 0 votes (0%)
Not sure, just considering taking up writing: 0 votes (0%)
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Your Librarian

Books by Young Writers

Francesca Zappia sold her debut novel Made You Up shortly after she turned 20.

Nancy Yi Fan was thirteen when Swordbird released, fourteen when Sword Quest released, and eighteen when the third and final book in the trilogy, Sword Mountain, released.

Kody Keplinger sold her debut novel, The Duff, when she was eighteen. She sold her second novel, Shut Out, at the age of 19. 

Beth Reekles wrote The Kissing Booth and published it on Wattpad when she was 15, the novel was then traditionally published when she was 17. 

Alexandra Adornetto's debut The Shadow Thief, and its sequel, The Lampo Circus, were published when she was fifteen, with a third book in the trilogy publishing when she was 16. HaloHades, and Heaven in her popular Halo series released while she was eighteen, nineteen, and twenty, respectively

Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon at 15, and it was published when he was 19.

Maya Van Wagenen's debut memoir sold when she was 15.

Malala Yousafzai's entire life story is incredible, she was just 15 when she was shot on a school bus by members of the Taliban for speaking out about a woman's right to an education. Her memoir was published just a year later when she was 16 years old.