1. Find an isolated place: a quiet room, the Georgia Mountains, your closet, wherever. Sequester yourself for weeks at a time. Write until you’re exhausted and hallucinating. Sleep for a few hours. Then do it again.
  1. Ignore your adorable cats. Sit down at your computer to just start writing already! Try to ignore the cat who jumped into your lap. Then try to type around the cat sitting on your keyboard. Finally give up and play with the cats.
  1. Keep a waterproof notepad in the shower. And a regular notepad by your bed.  And in your car.  And the kitchen.  You never know.
  1. Write about what interests you. Maybe what interests you is revenge stories about your sisters getting into trouble for being mean to you. Maybe you want to write about cats (the first story I ever wrote was “The Boom Diddy Kitty” about a cat who helps a kid who is not very popular—it wasn’t a huge bestseller but remains a classic).
  1. Get your father to bribe you to write books. And then write revenge stories about your sisters getting into trouble for being mean to you.
  1. Read a lot. Even a bad book can teach you a lesson (hint: don’t be the same bad in your books).
  1. Write about interesting people (another hint: perfectly stable, happy people make for boring stories—give them some trauma. Kidnap someone they love.  But not a pet because that’s too cruel).
  1. Feel free to put people you see regularly in your real life in your books. No one recognizes themselves on the page.  We are all tall, thin and erudite in our minds.
  1. If you feel stymied, get up and do something else for ten minutes.  Take a brisk walk.  Pet a cat. Stare out the window.  Then get back to it, because you’re a writer not a brisk, cat-petting window-starer.
  1. Know what you are writing about. If your characters are driving through the streets of Atlanta, drive through those same streets and make note of where the Dairy Queens are. Even if your characters don’t go into Dairy Queen, you should go inside and make sure the ice cream tastes okay. The more you know…

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