Monday, January 29, 2018

Faster. Higher. Stronger.

by Charlotte Bennardo

Picture Courtesy of: International Olympic Committee

Faster. Higher. Stronger. That's the Olympic motto. As we start a new year, and the Olympics are less than two weeks away, I'm adopting their motto, with a twist, as my own. No, I'm not an athlete (unless showing up for yoga and swimming twice a week count), but I identify with the words. Here's how it applies to my writing life and goals:

Faster: Writing faster is not the goal, since I can knock out a novel in 30 days, via NaNoWriMo or if I'm simply motivated by a new project. For me faster will be my reaction to jumping on opportunities for appearances, events, and writing projects. It also means this year I'll be faster to say NO to things that offer no benefit for me or which cost me in money or too much time. Traveling for events where I know I won't sell a book, or doing workshops and presentations where people expect me to guide them through the writing process yet they don't even ask me to sign a copy of my book as they stand there holding books from others. This is the year of learning and discerning faster.

Higher: Jumping up to cheer/volunteer is also getting cut. I've been the faithful team player but now it's time for higher aspirations than just being a good colleague, donating to the cause, or selling more books. I'm branching out into other areas professionally which I will reveal in time. Selling more books is not the be all, end all. There is something higher- something I want to wear my tiara for.

Stronger: I have to be stronger in my goals and my persistence in chasing new dreams. Some dreams I'm abandoning in favor of newer ones. That also means that I have to be stronger to face the new challenges, new skills, new people which will be presented to me in pursuit of these goals. I have to be strong when it comes to clearing out what isn't working anymore: a style, a manuscript, an event, an organization, even people. All these are like clothes: some are so basic, like a comfy pair of jeans that will never go out of style, will always serve you well. Others, well, no one wears gold lame MC Hammer pants anymore. Some things will be easy to let go of- others will be very hard, but I have to be strong to do what must be done.

As the Olympics approach, think of your own goals and dreams; like first time Olympian ice skater Adam Rippon or veteran gold medalist Shawn White, you have to get faster, higher, stronger in order to succeed.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

2017 MG Debut Books and Goals for 2018

It’s a new year, and we’re talking about new goals! I definitely have some goals for the year, many centered around my new book coming out this fall, 24 HOURS IN NOWHERE, an adventure story about four kids who live in the poor desert town of Nowhere, AZ and decide to venture into an old abandoned mine one night in hopes of finding a piece of gold to buy back a dirt bike that was taken by a bully.
It can be tough to focus on working on a new project when you are so caught up in promoting current ones, but I definitely want to write a third book this year and maybe even get started on a fourth. My second book is quite different from my first book, so I’m struggling a bit in figuring out what direction I want to take with my writing. I’m about to be the Writer in Residence at Tempe Public Library here in a couple of weeks, so I better figure out something to work on soon so I'm not just sitting there for eight hours a day staring at the stacks!           

I reached out to some of my fellow 2017 middle grade debuts to see what they had going on this year. It’s wonderful to hear that many of them have a second book coming out—some sequels and some stand alones—and most are working on another project. Be sure to mark your calendars for all of these fabulous new books coming out this year!                                 

Sally Pla’s (THE SOMEDAY BIRDS) sophomore stand alone novel, STANEY WILL PROBABLY BE FINE, releases in only a couple of weeks and has already received a starred review from Kirkus. "A book two is like going from freshman to sophomore year of high school," Sally says. "The newness has worn off, but a certain unmistakable aura of anxiety/insecurity every remains... which may be a fitting way to look at it as my book-two is about anxiety."       

Jake Burt’s (GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION) sophomore stand alone novel, THE RIGHT HOOK OF DEVIN VELMA, chronicles one boy's quest to figure out why his best friend punched him in the face (sounds amazing, doesn't it?). It releases on October 2nd, and they’re in the midst of fine-tuning the cover art right now.                      

Rob Vlock has a second book coming out in his SVEN CARTER series called SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY releasing in the fall of 2018. Filled with just as much humor and action as the first book, SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY follows Sven, Will and Alicia, as they set off on a frantic race across the country to seek out and stop six other Omicron model androids, each just as deadly as Sven, before they carry out their plans to destroy the human race. Along the way, Sven has to come to terms what it really means to an android in a human world -- and figure out where his allegiances really lie. Ultimately, Sven and his friends come to realize that the threat to humanity is greater than they ever imagined. And the only way they can stop it involves putting not only their friendships, but their very lives in grave peril.          

Jen Petro-Roy is the author of P.S. I MISS YOU, an LGBTQ middle grade novel told in letters from twelve-year-old Evie to her older sister Cilla, out on March 6th from Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends. Jen has two more books coming out in early 2019: GOOD ENOUGH is about Riley, a seventh grader struggling to recovery from anorexia nervosa while dealing with overbearing parents, a gymnastic star sister, and a fellow patient intent on sabotaging her process. YOU ARE ENOUGH is a nonfiction guide to self-esteem, body image,and eating disorder recovery, based on Jen's own journey to recovery. Jen's goal for 2018 is to filter out the internet a bit more--both distraction-wise and review-wise, and to write for herself and her readers above all!        

Karina Glaser (THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET) will be releasing a sequel to her debut on September 25, 2018 with HMH Books for Young Readers. It’s called THE VANDERBEEKERS AND THE HIDDEN GARDEN. "This book felt different to write from the first because it needed to feel fresh and different but continue with the Vanderbeeker family story line," Karina says. "There are also a lot more illustrations!"

Jonathan Rosen has a sequel (not yet titled) coming out around August to his hilarious debut, NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES. It has the same cast of characters from the first book, but this time, they go up against a Performing Arts School of Vampires. Jonathan's goals for this year are to keep writing--a third book in the Cuddle Bunnies universe, and something entirely different as well.           

Wendy McLeod MacKnight (IT'S A MYSTERY, PIG FACE), has a second book coming out on June 5 called THE FRAME UP. Set in the real-life Beaverbrook Art Gallery, The Frame Up tells the story of the friendship between the gallery director's son, Sargent Singer and Mona Dunn, a portrait. A celebration of art and artists, this inventive mystery features devious plots, shady characters, and a grand art heist. Wendy recently turned her third book into Greenwillow and plans to complete her fourth book this year!

Beth Von Ancken McMullen (MRS. SMITH'S SPY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS) has a sequel releasing on July 3 called POWER PLAY. "Second books are tough," Beth says, "especially with a series. I was trying to amp things up to keep them exciting but not ‘jump the shark’. Yikes! In the end, being back with Abby and her friends was totally worth the book two jitters. I made a deal with myself back in December that 2018 would be less about marketing, social media-ing, etc and more about writing. My goal for the next few months is to finish Mrs. Smith’s Spy School #3 without ripping my hair out and finish up ten chapters of another idea that I love. We’ll see how it goes."

Kristin L. Gray (VILONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE) will be working on her next book during 2018. "I began my second novel, THE AMELIA SIX (2019), three times before I found the right start," Kristin says. "I learned that having one book out does not give you a magic formula. Each story takes its own path. That’s okay! My goal for 2018 is to simply enjoy this story’s journey. And to make time for these great reads!"

Jarrett Lerner, who released the hilarious ENGINERDS in 2017, has a sequel coming out in early 2019. “My writing goal for 2018," Jarrett says, "is to finish up a few of the projects that I've left in various stages of completion. I'll also be working soon with a young writer or two as part of my Kid Lit Mentorship Project, and so another goal of mine will be to help them complete a writing project of their choice, and to make sure that, at the end of the process, they are more confident, eager, and skilled creators.”

Susan Tan has a sequel coming out to her charming debut, CILLA-LEE JENKINS, FUTURE AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE. It’s called CILLA-LEE JENKINS, THIS BOOK IS A CLASSIC and releases on March 27.        

Alison Hymas also has a sequel coming out to her fun debut, UNDER LOCKER AND KEY. It’s called ARTS AND THEFTS and releases on February 13.         
Katie Silvensky’s debut, THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY, is currently a Cybils finalist! Her sophomore title, THE SEISMIC SEVEN, comes out in June.

Kiersi Burkhart (SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY) will be changing genres in 2018 and releasing her first YA novel, HONOR CODE, available March 1. I can't wait to see what Kiersi does for young adult!

For those who don't have a second book releasing this year, the work certainly doesn't stop! Danielle Davis (ZINNIA AND THE BEES) is trying her hand at a zany and fun chapter book. Melissa Roske (KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN) is working away at her second novel and Darcey Rosenblatt (LOST BOYS) is just about to finish hers! I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next!         

So as you can see, everyone's journey from book one to book two is different. I'm looking forward to having many new books to read in 2018 and hopefully one or two to write. Good luck to everyone in the new year!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Many bloggers have been focusing this month on creative nourishment. Filling the well. Making sure we replenish ourselves in the midst of creating something new.

For the past several years, most of my goals have focused on doing more. Writing more, submitting more work, trying new genres, learning the ins and outs of self-publishing. 

I’m not slowing down any, but I find myself wanting to fill the well lately, too. Sometimes, you’ve just got to push yourself away from the desk for a few minutes. And when you come back, you’re stronger than ever.

For mini-breaks, I’ve been sinking deep into sewing: I’ve been crocheting and knitting for a few years now, and this year, I’m also getting into embroidery. I did a little embroidery when I was younger, but mostly, I was just kind of futzing around. This time, I want to learn all the actual stitches. (Thanks, YouTube!)
The best part of these “breaks” is that in the end, I also have something to show for them. There's something about being somehow productive even during your breaks that feels good, too.

What about you? Are you sewing? There's kind of a remarkable number of writers who do, actually!

Let’s share our “break work”! Find me on Twitter: @holly_schindler

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Goodbye Distractions, Hello Writing!

Everyone's lives are full of them - distractions.  From Twitter to Facebook; from cable news to the sitcoms I love.  It seems that there is always something interesting keeping me from my "To Do" list.  So, then I make a valiant effort to be more disciplined and stay on track, attacking that "To Do" list with a vengeance, feeling a huge thrill every time my pencil checks off another finished task.  But what about my other work?  My real work.  My writing.  Could it be that even my "To Do" list with its long list of emails to answer and letters to write and even blog posts to create is keeping me from my most important creative endeavor, the draft of my next middle grade novel?  Could it be that all of those tasks that are part of my job as an author, not only distract me from "doing" my writing, but also distract me from living a creative life so that I have the inspiration I need to create interesting characters and tell unique stories? 
I wish I could say I asked myself those thoughtful questions on my own, but I only began asking those questions after reading
Manage Your Day-to-Day:  Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.
This book allowed me to step back and, not only evaluate my work, but also evaluate how I go about accomplishing that work each day.  After that evaluation, I realized how much I have let the distractions (even the author-related ones) stand in my way.  But in 2018, I plan to give my best energy and attention to my writing, saving the other tasks on my "To Do" list for later. 
So goodbye pesky, annoying, aggravating distractions and hello year of amazing, creative, fulfilling writing! 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Putting writing goals on paper for 2018

The general thought of putting pen to paper to establish goals for the next 12 months is something that tends to give me stress flashbacks to my junior high days. Academics tell us goals must be specific, measurable, realistic and timed.

This is not how I write.

It’s true I am a very structured person. I am goal-oriented, highly organized and as a past journalist, driven by the motivation of deadlines.

When I transitioned from being in the newsroom to being at home and attempting to be a writer – whether it be freelance, books or blogging – I knew it was only me at the helm. Me to hold myself responsible, me to enforce the deadlines and the hours in which I’d be in my chair at the keyboard. I’ve always worked well independently. I took several college courses online, I often worked remotely as a reporter. I have no problem telling myself what to do, possibly because of the crushing guilt I feel if I leave responsibilities hanging.

In relation to writing novels, however, I have had few deadlines. Going to publication meant deadlines for editing and proposals and marketing plans. I’ve always met those. When it comes to writing a new novel, however, I never know exactly what I’m getting into. Some novels have taken me many months to write. One I wrote in a frenzied but euphoric three weeks. Some characters are more willing to show themselves to me, their plots readily unfolding, and therefore quicker to write. And it comes through that ability to recognize my characters and setting to properly convey their story that the entirety of the novel comes.

I have yet to be able to staple a deadline to this.

So when 2018 approached, just as in years past, I give myself an outline. Each month, I assign a basic goal that I hope to achieve. “Finish writing X chapters” or “Complete manuscript” or “Edit manuscript.” Perhaps “Query X manuscript” or “Critique partner’s manuscript” or “Submit to X to contest or Pitch Wars.” I also allow certain months for nothing but “Write write write.” In trusting myself with a certain amount of structure yet also free reign, I’ve been able to reach not only my annual goals but many of my lifelong goals as a writer. To see myself in publication, to see my short story in a literary magazine, to earn writing accolades, and perhaps best of all – simply to keep writing throughout my life.

Happy New Year and happy reading!

AM Bostwick

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Goal for 2018: Creative Joy by Claudia Mills

How I love formulating goals for myself for each new year! I think most writers do. As self-employed persons, we need to be self-starting persons, and resolutions can be an effective way of getting ourselves started on achieving whatever it is we want to achieve.

As I formulate my plans for each year, I have evolved these guidelines:
1) Although I may have lots of small, incidental goals (e.g., in the wake of last year's kidney stone surgery: drink more water!), I want to have one big goal that is my chief focus for the year.
2) The goal should be measurable and quantifiable, so that I can know whether or not I actually achieved it.
3) The goal should be achievable: I want to set the bar high enough that I have something to strive for, but low enough that a reasonable amount of striving is going to lead to success. I myself am demoralized by failure.
4) With this last thought in mind, my preferred time frame to focus on for my annual goals is the MONTH. The DAY is too demanding, where if I miss my target on even one day out of 365, I've already failed. The YEAR is too forgiving; it makes possible a dangerous amount of procrastination and postponement. But the MONTH - ahh, the month is just right.

Last  year (2017), my goal was to submit something different every single month: it could be something big and ambitious like a book proposal, book manuscript, or well-researched scholarly article; it could be something smaller, like a revision of one of these in response to editorial or reviewer comments; it could be something very small, like a 700-word article for the SCBWI Bulletin, or a short poem. I didn't need to have a single submission accepted - that part was up to the universe. But sending stuff out into the world was up to me. I just barely managed to meet this goal, as I describe in detail here.

For this year (2018), I wanted something very different, something that would focus not on product, but on process. As my personal life is very difficult right now, I also wanted something that would focus on FUN. The best fun is the fun I get from creating something, from making something - from writing. So my focus this year is creative joy. But how to make this goal measurable and quantifiable? I decided it would be: to have ten hours each month of creative joy.

But what would count as creative joy? How could I make the goal more clear and precise? I decided that "creative joy" needed to involve some extra effort in the direction of generating happiness for myself. An hour of creative joy could be an  hour writing with a friend, or in a cozy cafe, or at an art museum, or on a bench in a park. It could be an hour writing at home IF I added something special: lighting a candle, playing inspiring music, eating an extra-tasty treat.

Ooh! I liked this goal, I did!

So far this month my hours of creative joy have included:
1) an afternoon writing at the BookBar indie bookstore/cafe on Tennyson Street in Denver with a dear friend;
2) an afternoon touring the exhibit "Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism" at the Denver Art Museum and writing poems about the artworks;
3) a morning writing with a friend in her sunroom;
4) writing at home with while eating two Pepperidge Farm apple turnovers;
5) writing at home with Cool Whip added to my usual Swiss Miss hot chocolate;
6) writing at home with a vanilla-scented candle lit on my desk.

And think of all the creative joy I'll be able to find in February - and March- and April - and May!

Monday, January 15, 2018

When the Cat Explodes

Ursula Le Guin

"Ultimately you write alone. And ultimately you and you alone can judge your work. The judgment that a work is complete—this is what I meant to do, and I stand by it—can come only from the writer, and it can be made rightly only by a writer who’s learned to read her own work. Group criticism is great training for self-criticism. But until quite recently no writer had that training, and yet they learned what they needed. They learned it by doing it." -- Ursula Le Guin, Steering the Craft

On another blog I talk about my current search for an agent. I searched for years for the right agent, firing two agents along the way because they were not serving my best interest. Finally, finally I found the ONE. After five years, and the sale of my two historical fiction middle grade books, my agent decided to focus on picturebooks and so ended our relationship. For a year now, I’ve been in search of a new agent. I write historical fiction, focusing on forgotten characters (usually girls, who are not represented enough) and events (because I think as a nation, we are historically illiterate and have forgotten our own story) that helped build the American landscape. I write historical American fantasy, a unique blending of the tall tale tradition and character that captures so much of the American identity with the historical American landscape.

Careful to do my research, and asking for recommendations, I’ve sent out two to three queries a week. Giving time for responses, I’ve sent out close to thirty queries. Most have given me the silent rejection and not responded. A few responses rejected the manuscript because historical fiction is a hard sell. A few others offered only that it was a bad fit. One asked for a revision, and then ultimately passed. Another asked for another revision, offering detailed observations.

But now, I struggle with the writing. I struggle with getting it done.

I am reminded of Neil Gaiman’s speech on how to live the creative life, delivered in May of 2012 at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts:

“When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.” –Neil Gaiman, on making good art. See more at Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings here.

The definition of “good art” seems to shift between readers, between agents, between editors. One agent rejected my story, stating it has too many characters while the plot was exciting. Another agent stated that she loved all the characters but the plot is too quiet. Another said there was too much reflection, while another said it had too much narrative. The indomitable Ursula Le Guin speaks to this notion:

“Thanks to “show don’t tell,” I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented...This dread of writing a sentence that isn’t crammed with “gutwrenching action” leads fiction writers to rely far too much on dialogue, to restrict voice to limited third person and tense to the present. They believe the narrator’s voice (ponderously described as “omniscient”) distances the story — whereas it’s the most intimate voice of all, the one that tells you what is in the characters’ hearts, and in yours. The same fear of “distancing” leads writers to abandon the narrative past tense, which involves and includes past, present, and future, for the tight-focused, inflexible present tense. But distance lends enchantment...”  states Ursula LeGuin, on her criticism of John Rechy’s essay that “attacks three “rules of writing” that, according to him, often go unchallenged: These three rules include 1.Show, don’t tell. 2. Write about what you know. 3. Always have a sympathetic character for the reader to relate to.” (Find more of Ursula LeGuin’s wisdom on her blog here.) 

So what’s a writer to do? First, have courage to break the rules, but finish the story.

Neil Gaiman reminds us that, “You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”  (To learn more about Neil Gaiman advice to aspiring writers, and to see a podcast interview, visit Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings here.)

 “If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written.” -- Neil Gaiman 

So with this new year, during this time of new beginnings: Finish your story. Learn the rules. Break the rules. Make new mistakes.

“Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

"So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.” –Neil Gaiman.

Wishing you a year of making good art.

Bobbi Miller

Photo of Ursula Le Guin courtesy Euan Monaghan/Structo

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Filling the well

I have enjoyed reading my fellow bloggers' writing goals and resolutions for the past few weeks, but I admit I'm not quite there yet. It always takes me a few weeks in January to get back to business. After all the hub bub that takes place in November and December, I reach the new year feeling weary. A little worn-out. Somewhat depleted. So my goal -- if you can call it that -- is to fill my creative well.

This is a concept drawn from screenwriter and director Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, which is designed to help enhance creativity. Cameron points out that we need an inner reservoir to draw from if we are going to continue to create -- a creative "ecosystem" of sorts, that needs care and upkeep. If we don't give our reservoir the attention it requires, it can dry up, become blocked, or even stagnant.
Her suggestion is to set aside time each week to do something that nourishes the creative self. A trip to a museum, a walk in the country, or watching an old movie are just a few examples. These should be done alone so we can absorb the experience without conversation or distraction. Cameron calls these activities an "artist's date," as we are taking ourselves out.

I love that idea! Who better to take myself out than me!

I've found that when there's too much going on, it's hard to tune everything out and focus on my work-in-progress. So I plan to set aside time in the next few weeks to nourish my creative self. Instead of tasks that "must" be done, I vow to find time -- even if it's thirty minutes a day -- to do something fun, delightful, mysterious, or intriguing.

Another concept I've come across recently is something called "moodling." The term means dawdling, idling away time, letting the mind wander. Despite our busy, frenetic lives, we all do this in little bits of moments -- while sitting at a stoplight, washing dishes, waiting at the doctor's office (that is, if we're not checking our phones). But a good exercise is to do this consciously, with a pencil and paper, for an hour. Let the thoughts come as they may. Some of the most innovative and interesting ideas can rise up out of the pockets of your mind.

Wishing you all a refilled well and time to "moodle" this year!

Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of Ethan Marcus Stands Up (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin 2017), The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days (Penguin Random House 2014) and Calli Be Gold (Penguin Random House 2011). Find her at

Saturday, January 13, 2018


I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but in keeping with the theme this month, I'll share a handout I offer at some of my workshops. I call it ADVICE TO MYSELF. These are things I always try to bear in mind along the writing road, not just with the turn of the calendar, but whenever I'm writing, facing the slog, feeling stuck, or just contemplating the nature of the work itself. 

Here's wishing you all a happy, productive writing year in 2018! 
  • The more you work on it, the better it tends to get (usually).
  • There are no shortcuts.  (But there are good days.)
  • “I find the harder I work, the luckier I get.”  – Unknown
  • I’m not doing myself any favors by broadcasting what I don’t like about my own work.
  • Stop worrying about whether it’s character driven, plot driven, or what. Just write it.
  • I am who I am. (aka, I’m not Edith Wharton. I watched too much t.v. as a kid. Deal with it.)
  • Yes, most of my ideas probably exist elsewhere.  So what?
  • There are (arguably) no bad ideas. It’s all about execution.
  • “The best way to bore someone is by leaving nothing out.” – Voltaire
  • Kill your darlings. 
  • “Never wish more than you work.”  - Rita Mae Brown
  • Stillness, silence, staring into space—it’s all part of the work
  • “We must understand and accept that we lose half of our audience the moment we open our mouths.”  - Kate DiCamillo
  • Write to your ideal reader.  And write to please yourself first.
  • Trust your instincts. For real.
  • “My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”  - Elmore Leonard
  • When in doubt, ask yourself: What are the questions I should be asking myself right now?
  • Follow your curiosity, not your passion. – paraphrased from Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
  • Tell the truth. 
  • Don’t save your ideas for later. There will always be more.
  • eedback is a gift. That means you can do what you want with it. (But keep an open mind.)
  • Dreck is part of the process. So is falling out of love with your idea. Keep going anyway.
  • You are a writer if you want to be one.  Think of yourself as a writer.  Call yourself as a writer.  Don’t wait to get published for this to happen.
  • Tell a good story first and worry about the moral later.  No one wants to read a moral.
  • I may get better at this as I go along, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier.