Top-10-ListI LOVE end of year top ten lists…the best and worst dressed..the most embarrassing political moments….the best/worst movies, books, etc… They are everywhere!

Which means we need one, too.

So here it is! To inspire you for a great writing year in 2013…..MY top ten list:

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE RECEIVED (and often given), 2012 EDITION!

(feel free to take it, or not!)

10. Don’t hold back that revelation! This is a big one for me. What I mean: Instead of saving it for the end of the book, USE IT NOW…and see what happens next. What you find out will ALWAYS be more interesting than what you need to fill the pages, waiting to spill that revelation.

9. TRY EVERYTHING! Do I need to explain? In my class, the writers that are getting agents/getting into MFA programs/having great years are the ones who take advice and try!!!! Even if you end up deleting the writing, you learn something new about your character!

8. Don’t write when you don’t feel safe.  This is a tough one. And very personal. Writing can be a very dangerous activity….and it can be scary. So if the kids are sick or your hubby/wife needs attention or life is hard, that comes first.

7. Plot logically. Find the easy answer. Over and over, ask yourself: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Think: action/reaction.

6. Know what your book is about. Know what you want to say. Think about this as you write. Believe in yourself.


5. An essential aspect of creativity is NOT being afraid to fail. (Actually, you have to embrace failure!!! It’s an essential part of the process. My bad drafts teach me so much!!!! Then REVISE.) Remember: if you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great will ever happen.

4. Before you work on VOICE, know what your characters want and why. Know your plot. Foundation first. Otherwise, you’re probably just making darlings. Okay?

3. Take the time to figure out what your characters have in common with you on an emotional level. It’s there! I promise!

2. Two pages a day. Every day. Make the commitment.

And the most important piece of advice I have EVER RECEIVED…and continue to give it over and over again…….

celebrate 2

CELEBRATE every step! Chocolate and flowers, writers! Every milestone. Every correspondence. My kids know when I have hit 100 pages, because that’s when I make Thai Seafood Soup! This may sound silly, but when I’m on page 70, just thinking about that soup helps me write.

Happy New Year!!!!!

(I originally posted this on The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Writers. Check out that blog for great reading/writing advice!!!)

4 Responses
  1. I love this list and this blog! I am inspired and ready to begin 2013 writing no less than 2 pages a day, and celebrating all the milestones along the way to my YES moment! A huge thanks. – Elly 😀

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