The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Golden Moments of Author Advice for Children and Writers

I’ve been so honored by many opportunities to learn through author interviews. Thought I’d collect the wisdom of authors that I’ve interviewed over the past year and a half. I have all the author interviews organized on one page here:

http://thestylinglibrarian.com/authors-celebrated/

Here’s the collection of wonderful author thoughts:

Cindy Hudson:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

Don’t take rejection personally. It’s not necessarily a commentary on your writing as much as it may be on what an editor is looking for at the moment.

David Michael Slater:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?

Persistence is every bit as important as talent if you hope to be published. Also: you would not believe how just 10 or 15 minutes a day dedicated to your writing can add up to a manuscript before you know it.

Bart King:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
For everyone, I’d say READ. I don’t know of a single writer that I respect who wasn’t a reader.

I’d also recommend that anyone who’s serious about writing do it EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes!

The last rule for EVERYONE is to go somewhere where you’re offline to write.

(For kids, I’d add that it’s important to use specific sensory details in your writing, so that your reader can see or hear or smell or feel what you are writing about.)

Lenore Look:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was…. If that’s what you want to do, why aren’t you doing it?
The habit I never break for my writing practice is…I don’t understand this question. Do you mean a writing habit that I never break, or a habit that takes precedence over writing?
If someone had told me…that public speaking is part of the job of being an author, I would have worked harder at math!

Trudy Ludwig:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was…. Write from your heart. When you feel passionate about what you write, your passion will shine through to connect and engage readers to your story, to the characters in your story, and to fellow readers.

Do you have key writing tips for kids and/or adults? I think one of the key things for writers to do is to share their writings with others in order to get feedback on their work. Constructive criticism helps us to make our stories much better because sometimes we get so immersed in the telling of the story that we may not see glaring errors in our telling or how the story itself is being written. I test out my stories on my target audience to make sure my language usage is age-appropriate, realistic, and authentic. I also have kids read out loud what I write, to see how it sounds when someone else is reading my story.

It’s also really important to edit the stories you write. Many authors go through numerous story drafts–editing, re-editing, then editing even more–to make their story as polished as it can be. I went through at least five drafts with some of my books! And don’t forget to read, read, read! Reading well-written literature and learning to recognize what makes a story able draw you in as a reader and keep your interest throughout the story will help you in your efforts to become a good writer.

Amy Axelrod:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession:

 Just look forward. Keep writing. Don’t worry about what other authors are doing or what’s being published.  Listen to your own voice.

SISBRO, Laura Sams, Rob Sams:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

1)    Expect to make mistakes and expect that you’ll have to go back and fix your mistakes.  Very few things are done correctly the first time.

2)    Don’t be smart, be curious.

3)    Don’t feed the bears.

Do you have any key writing tips for kids? Or adults?

It’s hard to be a good writer unless you have read good writing.  It takes time to understand why certain writing styles flow better than others. Read a variety of authors and genres and find the ones that resonate with you.  And try to think about why a certain writing style seems to work.

Margriet Ruurs:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?

The best advise, if you want to be a writer, is to read. Read, read, and read some more. Read magazines, read novels, read poetry, read fiction. Read blogs. The more you read, the more you see how to craft a story, how to share information. I also find it very helpful to attend any talks by authors if they visit your town. Try your stories out on the audience for which it is meant – read to kindergarteners or ask a 7th grader to critique your story.

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

the golden rule of picture book writing: “Show, don’t tell.”

Heather Vogel Frederick:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….
 … turn the ringer on the phone off.  (I have since expanded this to turn EVERYTHING off, as this advice was given to me in the pre-Internet, pre-social media era).

Nina Laden:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
My key writing tip is: keep a journal. Don’t tear the pages out ever. Write every little idea or spark of an idea down. You never know what will be the seed that grows that great big idea… Also read. If you want to write you need to read. And take walks. Long, slow walks. Really notice things. Exploring helps expand your mind!

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….
“If you are afraid of making a mistake, you won’t make anything.” I got that advice from a sign on a rug cleaning facility in my neighborhood. I think it applies to everything in life.

Gae Polisner:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
Yes. Allow your initial writing to be garbage. Allow your first drafts to be crap. It’s nice to expect more from yourself, but unrealistic. My first drafts are utter nonsense. Sometimes my second and third drafts. . . the pretty writing is in the revision. The story takes shape real shape in the revision.

Rosanne Parry:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?

1. It’s okay to set aside a story that isn’t working and come back to it later. Working writers do this all the time.

2. Spelling and punctuation really don’t matter until you are ready to show your work to another reader. The first several drafts can be as messy as you want when you are the only one reading them.

3. It is not possible to write a story that will please everybody. But it is helpful to write a story with one particular reader in mind. If you can connect deeply with just one reader who you know and care about, chances are lots of other people will connect to your story too.

The habit I never break for my writing practice is…read it aloud before you show it to anybody.

David Lubar:

Do you have a key writing tips for kids? Or adults?

Learn to love revision. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t be too easy on yourself. Floss your teeth.

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

keep writing.

The habit I never break for my writing practice is…

keep revising until I’m satisfied I can’t make it any better.

Judy Cox:

Do you have a key writing tip for kids? Or adults?

Writing takes time and

persistence to develop.

There are two key ways

things a writer must do to

hone their craft:

Write and Read!

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….never give up!

The habit I never break for my writing practice is…revision, revision, revision. Sometimes it’s hard to stop revising.

Susan Fletcher:

Writing tips for kids:

Write what you love, outside of your school projects.  Don’t worry about praise or getting published or even finishing your personal writing projects.  Not yet.  Take time to grow into your voice and your material.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and change.  Try to freewrite a little every day.  Collect words that entrance you.  Read a ton.  All kinds of things.  Ask your librarian for a list of “Books You Should Read before Leaving Childhood.” In your writing, lean toward what gives you joy.

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

Follow your protagonist’s desire

or need

and let that lead you to

what happens

in your story.

Deborah Hopkinson:

Do you have a key writing tip for kids? Or adults?
One tip I think is helpful for writers of all ages is to read your writing aloud as part of the revision process. 

The habit I never break for my writing practice is… oddly enough, to keep exercising.  Because I work full time, I am a weekend writer.  Sometimes I get worried about deadlines, but if I take time to go to the gym, I usually end up just as – if not more – productive than if I try to work for 8 or 12 hours at a stretch.  Exercise does help the brain!

Ame Dyckman:

Do you have any key writing tips for kids?  Or adults? Same advice for both groups:  read everything you can in your genre, surround yourself with book people, love your local library, and don’t ever give up! 

 The best advice I’ve received for my profession was… “You’ll never get published.”  Man, I love a challenge.

The habit I never break for my writing practice is…

Never make writing habits.  A great idea arrives when it’s supposed to—but give it your full attention when it does.  (Wait.  Is that a habit?)

What do you take away from all these golden moments of author advice?

Such a feast of ideas. 

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