This advice goes to 11!

I love to work with students on their writing. Poetry, fiction, screenplays, essays… I love their ideas, their growth over time, but not so much their ability to self-reflect. But I was a young writer once, too. Nothing is ever as brilliant as the thing you just finished five minutes ago. This is a rule.

What do I teach them in room #11?

#1. You can’t fix a blank page. Get words on paper [even if it’s virtual paper now.].

#2. Write everyday. When you miss a day, start over.

#3. Don’t put yourself or your fellow writers down.

#4. Everything can be improved with rewriting.

#5. Read. Read a lot. Read some more. Reread a favorite. See what the author does.

#6. Don’t worry if its been done before. It has but everyone is doing it again anyway.

#7. Stop. Look. Listen. Just like you’re going to cross the street. What do people do? What do they sound like?

#8. Make notes, you think you won’t forget it, but you might. You might even forget it if you do write it down. There are lots of random scraps of paper with phrases on them in my files. Some don’t make sense.

#9. Write for yourself. Then share it with others as soon as you’re ready.

#10. Keep going. Persevere. Rewrite. Reread. Rework. Eventually it will lead to reward.

#11. Find people who you can trust to tell you what your bad habits are, tell you when you’re shouting your message when you should be whispering.

What advice would you give young writers?

Write on,