I've had several people write to share the best writing advice they've ever received.
Vince Zandri, who has done numerous novels and sold more than a quarter million books, wrote to me and said, "The best writing advice I ever got came from Ernest Hemingway in the form of his memoir, A Moveable Feast. If writers are worried about one thing, it's the ability to keep a story moving from day to day. To avoid the 'block,' as some people call it. Papa wrote slowly and methodically in the early morning hours, and trained himself to stop at a point where he knew what was going to happen next. That way he could be sure of getting started the next day -- and it left him the afternoons to play, exercise, fish, drink, or do whatever he wanted."
Successful nonfiction writer Mel Lawrenz wrote to say, "The best advice? Take the long view. See the long process of publishing as an advantage -- the stages of writing, editing, rewriting, and revising make for a more refined end product. Don't miss the opportunity to rethink what you originally wrote."
Harlequin author Dana Mentink sent this: "The best writing advice I got as a pre-pubbed author was that I should act like a professional. My mentor encouraged me to treat my writing like a business, not a hobby. Put in the hours, describe yourself to others as a writer, and really put yourself into the mindset of a professional. She explained to me that there's a big difference between 'I want to write a book' and 'I want to be an author.' The latter requires professional dedication."
Children's author Kayleen Reusser noted, "Believe in yourself, even if no one else does. At my beginning I was the only one who believed I could write and get published. Even my mother told me I could not write -- no money, no time, three small children to care for. But I swore I would die trying. (Thank goodness it has not come to that.)"
And novelist Dianne Price wrote to say, "Know your characters. LIve with them. Talk to them. Listen to their words and the cadence of their speech. Make them your constant companions. Argue with them. Commiserate with them. Ask them questions. You must know them to make them believable."
What about you? What's the best writing advice you've ever heard?