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WRITING TIPS

*Write from the heart. If you don't have enough passion for a particular project, you won't finish it.

*Write not to publish, but because you love it. If you don't enjoy the process of writing, maybe you'd be happier painting or dancing or flying a kite.

*Write every day. Even if you can spend only ten minutes, this will get your brain used to the activity.

*Listen to other people's stories.

*Read extensively. Read books that take your breath away. If you are writing for children, be sure to read plenty of children's literature Everyone should read a wide variety: fiction, nonfiction, biography, magazines, poetry...

*If you write for children, join THE SOCIETY OF CHILDREN'S BOOK WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS. The society provides classes, critique groups, helpful publications, conferences, and camaraderie among writers.

*Join a critique group. It's important to form a group of peers who will offer you support and guidance. I belong to a group that meets every other week. When I went to school at Vermont College, I met wonderful writers. We connected with each other by e-mail. Even though we graduated in 2000, we have kept in touch. Not only do we offer each other support in writing, but we are close in all aspects of our daily lives. We call ourselves The Hive.

*Be flexible. While it's good to establish a writing routine, it's equally important to be able to write wherever and however. I myself have written in the line to get my driver's license, on a cruise ship, and even while I was having an operation on my toe!

*If you would like to self publish, create a book on lulu.com or Amazon Create Space.

*Never write for the approval of others.

*Enjoy exploring the wilderness of the writer's mind!