Writing Your First Book


When I started writing a novel I thought, I’m not ready, because I’ve only written short stories and nobody wants them, but I also thought, For Christ’s sake, what am I going to do? I can’t keep on like this. I started writing the novel and I instantly felt like, Finally I can breathe.

For Buzzfeed Books (which is edited by our very own Isaac Fitzgerald), twenty-one authors (including Junot Díaz, George Saunders, and Roxane Gay) answer questions about how they wrote their first books.

There are all kinds of handy anecdotes and advice about choosing readers, discarding drafts, and making the time to get the thing done.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →