Ruskin Bond is one of India’s most well-known authors. He has penned down many memorable characters and stories over a career spanning more than seven decades. Although he did not specialize in a specific genre at first, he is now one of India’s most celebrated children’s authors. Bond has an impressive body of work in other genres as well. Most of his work reflects life in India’s picturesque hill stations. Many of his novels and novellas have been adapted for award-winning television series and films.

Bond received the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014. He lives in Landour, Mussoorie.


In How to be a Writer, Ruskin Bond has created a handbook for budding writers, who are often confused about this very question. He has taken his own experiences as an author to create this step-by-step guide for young, aspiring writers.

While How to be a Writer is a non-fiction work, it is replete with interesting anecdotes from the author’s life. The book has been systematically divided into seven chapters. Each chapter covers an important aspect of the art of writing a book. Some of these aspects are about how one can prepare, write and create memorable characters and stories. Bond has also touched upon some complex issues such as how to choose a genre and get published.


One of the good things about How to be a Writer is how Bond has created a page-turner out of an academic topic. The way he has made writing seem so easy and effortless is a joy to behold. His tips about handling critics, writer’s block, and rejection are probably the greatest takeaways from the book.

Tips for writers on how to take notes, from An excerpt from How to be a Writer by Ruskin Bond

While children are the primary readership for this humorous self-help book, anyone who wants to start a career in writing will enjoy and learn from this book. Talking about learning, each sentence is a learning experience on its own! The sentences flow so smoothly as though the author were sitting right next to the reader and narrating them his life experiences. The book obviously has its fair share of witty tips as well.

An excerpt about writing ghost stories from How to be a Writer by Ruskin Bond

The way Bond uses examples of other bestselling authors to explain a given subject is quite commendable. In fact, he has used examples from various walks of life to explain certain points. For instance, he elucidates his point about choosing the book’s title carefully by mentioning the before-and-after titles of some evergreen stories. The book also contains an entire section on how to come up with scary vampires and jaw-dropping ghost stories.

The book is well-structured and addresses almost all the questions that the inquisitive mind of a young writer might have. Illustrators Shamika Chaves and Chaaya Prabhat have also done a wonderful job endearing the book to its readers.

The list of books curated by the author are the frosting on the cake, inspiring young minds to keep broadening their horizons. It is a bucket list every up-and-coming writer must consider. Actually, contrary to what the title may force one to think, he has encouraged young people to both read and write.


At just a 119 pages, How to be a Writer is way too short, which is probably why several subjects have not been addressed at length.


I am not writing to please everyone, I am really writing to please myself!

Quotes from How to be a Writer by Ruskin Bond

Don’t just be a writer. Be a good writer.

That person is the strongest who stands alone. Create such a hero or heroine, and you might create another Huck Finn or Harry Potter.


Ameya Rating:

Scoring 4 out of a possible 5, How to be a Writer is a must-read for every Ruskin Bond fan. Aspiring writers will find answers to most, if not all, of their questions in the book.

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