This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World

Kerri Majors (Author)
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Real-world writing advice, minus all the lectures.

You're an aspiring writer. Maybe you've just discovered your love of words and dream of being a novelist someday. Maybe you've been filling notebooks with science-fiction stories since middle school. Maybe you're contemplating a liberal arts degree, but you don't know what the heck you're going to do with it. The last thing you need is another preachy writing manual telling you how you should write.

This book isn't a writing manual. It is a series of candid and irreverent essays on the writing life, from a writer who's lived it. Kerri Majors shares stories from her own life that offer insights on the realities all writers face: developing a writing voice, finding a real job (and yes, you do need to find one), taking criticism, getting published, and dealing with rejection.

Don't have enough time to write? Learn how to plan your days to fit it all in. Not sure how your guilty pleasures and bad habits translate into literature? Kerri explains how soap operas and eavesdropping can actually help your writing. Need a reader for your first novel? Find a writing buddy or a writing group that will support you. Nervous about submitting your first piece? Learn from Kerri's own roller coaster journey to find an agent and get published. This Is Not a Writing Manual is the writing memoir for young writers who want to use their talents in the real world.

ATTENTION TEACHERS! The Teacher's Edition for This Is Not a Writing Manual is now available! This FREE supplemental PDF includes a series of lesson plans and writing class essentials that will improve the writing of students in middle and high school--and beyond. To access, e-mail us at [email protected] to receive your free download, or visit Kerri Majors's website.

Product Details

$18.99  $17.47
Writer's Digest Books
Publish Date
July 09, 2013
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.3 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

Kerri Majors is the Editor and Founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network (, an online literary journal of YA short stories, essays, and poetry, which won an Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation. Kerri's short stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Guernica and Poets and Writers. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, has an MFA from Columbia, and now lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Mike, and their daughter. You can find out more about her at


"This nonmanual is a highly readable memoir stuffed with tips and information about the myriad aspects of pursuing a writing career by one who has carved a niche for herself in that world, namely with YARN (Young Adult Review Network). Majors hasn't had her breakthrough--she's not a Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer--but she's proof that there is a place in the writing world for those who aren't superstars. She is friendly, savvy, hip, easy to identify with, and definitely in touch with her teenage writer-self." - Booklist

"Essentially a memoir, the volume is earnest and practical in tone, covering every angle of writing, from buying a planner and revising to finding an audience and learning from mistakes. More philosophical concerns include what to do for a living before hitting the big time, deciding whether writing is a hobby or a job, and dealing with hating friends who find success before you do. Finally, for those committed to publishing, helpful advice is offered on dealing with agents, editors and publishers, discovering the right journals and finding inspiration. The best advice of all is to write for pleasure, even if the ultimate goal is publication. Clearly, Majors knows what she's talking about, and readers will recognize they're getting advice from someone who knows.... An upbeat and honest guide for teens already considering writing careers." - Kirkus Reviews

"Candid, honest advice and reflection from a writer who's been there. - Publisher's Weekly

"I wish this book existed when I was starting out! Filled with personal stories, inspiration, and practical creative advice, Kerri's book is a must for young writers everywhere." - Allen Zadoff, author of Boy Nobody, My Life Since You Left Me, and Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have

"This Is Not a Writing Manual is a personal book in the best sense of the word. Kerri Majors's advice is hard won. It comes from her own joys and disappointments, her hopes and unwavering dedication to writing. The book, as the title says, will not teach you how to write. What the book will do is take you, like a trusted friend, through some of the decisions you will need to make in order to be a writer. Its practical and heartfelt wisdom will prepare you for the challenges and fulfillments of the writing life." - Francisco X. Stork, author of Irises and Marcelo in the Real World, noted as a Best Book by the Washington Post and many others

"A personal and invigorating memoir of the creative life, This Is Not a Writing Manual offers wisdom, camaraderie, and inspiration for newbies and veterans alike. - John Cusick is an agent at Greenhouse Literary, the managing fiction editor at Armchair/Shotgun, and the author of Girl Parts and Cherry Money Baby

"When I was a writing teacher, I met many talented, passionate young writers who wondered how to move forward. I sincerely wish I'd had Kerri Majors's This is Not a Writing Manual to help them. Never prescriptive, always honest, this book is a genuine resource that grapples with the real work of writing--finding courage, finding time, and finding a way. - Blythe Woolston, author of Black Helicopters and The Freak Observer, a William C. Morris Debut Award winner