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by Danny Schnitzlein





2.  READ, READ, READ.  Ask your teachers what the ďgreatĒ books are.  Theyíll know what youíre talking about.  If youíre an adult, read all the books you can in the genre that you are writing for.  If youíre a writer, then reading is part of your job description.  (How cool is that?)


3.  KEEP A JOURNAL.  Write about everyday stuff that happens to you.  Sometimes stuff from your journal can be a great starting place for a story.  Every time you have an idea for a story, write it in your journal.  Then, on a day when you canít think of something to write about, open your journal, and youíll have access to a pond stocked with ideas!


4.  SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE.  You know the ones Iím talking about.  These are the people who celebrate the good stuff in the world and donít go around complaining or focusing on negative stuff.  Theyíre the ones who congratulate you on your successes and have lots of interests.  Negative people will drag you down and point out all the reasons why you canít make it as a writer.  Do everything you can to stay away from these people.


5.  TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISION.   At the end of every day, ask yourself how much time you spent consuming and how much time you spent producing.  Reward yourself if you wrote a story, drew a picture, or wrote a song. 


6.  GET HONEST CRITICISM.  If youíre young, ask your teachers to critique your stories and give you advice.  Family members and friends do not give honest feedback, (except for my wife, who gives feedback that is way too honest.)   If youíre an adult, join a critique group to get feedback from other writers.  If you donít know how to find writers in your area, join SCBWI (scbwi.org).  Learn everything you can from their website, especially correct manuscript format.  Go to SCBWI conferences and workshops.  Make contacts in your area and join a critique group with other childrenís writers, to get honest feedback on your work.    If you are an adult and you havenít joined the Society of Childrenís Book Writers and Illustrators, youíre missing out on the best source of information, tips, contacts, workshops, and secrets to becoming a published author. 




8.  SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CREATIVE PEOPLE.  Make friends with other writers/artists/etc.  But make sure theyíre positive people.


9.  HAVE FUN WITH IT!  If you arenít having fun with what youíre writing, then the reader wonít either. 


10.  WORK THROUGH YOUR PROBLEMS.  If a story isnít working, then ask yourself why.  It seemed like a good idea when you started, so where did all the energy go?  Working through your storyís problems will help you grow as a writer.


11.  WRITE FIRST, EDIT LATER.  When an idea hits you, write the story first, then come back later and clean it up.  Itís more important to get the story down first.  Then release the editor in your brain to analyze it.  If you analyze too much in the beginning, youíll never get the story written.


12.  DONíT GIVE UP!   Dr. Seuss sent his first manuscript to over 30 publishers and ALL of them rejected it.   I had to send my manuscript to over 30 publishers too. 


13.  WRITE A LITTLE EACH DAY.  Writing in the morning helps me get my day off on the write foot.   If you only have 15 minutes a day to write, youíd be surprised how much you can get done in 15 focused minutes. 


14.  KNOW THE RULES.  Before you submit a manuscript to a publisher, check out the Chidrenís Writers and Illustratorsí Market, to find out whether your manuscript fits the guidelines for the publisher youíre submitting to.  You can find this book in the reference section of your library.  Itís published annually.


Here are two websites that publish stories written by kids:  



If youíre a young aspiring author, click here for a list of books that may help you.


If youíre an adult aspiring author, click here for a list of books that helped me on my writerís journey.


                      Copyright 2003, Danny Schnitzlein