1. Create characters you truly love, hate, admire, and fear.

2. Tell stories you yearn to tell: feel the desire of your protagonist to reach a goal; fear the obstacles blocking that path; show the details of the struggle.

3. Choose small events in the world you know, or large events on the world stage, to inspire your stories. The key is that they speak to you, and move you.

4. Read, read, read — read books written for the target age group, set in your chosen historical period, and of the type of book you want to write.

5. Try writing for different age groups, and in different voices. You will discover your niche through writing, not by thinking about writing.

6. Expect to make mistakes in the beginning — everyone does. Look for constructive feedback from people who know good writing.

7. Protect yourself from negative people: show your work only to trusted friends, or professional writing teachers or coaches.

8. As soon as you have received an offer on your first manuscript, but before you have signed a contract, join the Author's Guild and ask them for assistance.

9. Organize your life to become a writer: keep good files and maintain a disciplined work schedule; capture your dreams, reveries, and inspired moments in notebooks.

10. Try out new ideas all the time, edit your work patiently, and send it out steadily.

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