1. Write a lot, all the time, even when you don’t think it’s good. Early on, it probably won’t be.
2. When you aren’t writing, read.
3. When you aren’t reading, consume story-driven content in another way, like playing a video game.
4. Take a class, join a critique group, or share your work for feedback with people you know.
5. Submit your work anywhere you can, even if there’s a chance you’ll get rejected.
6. Whenever possible, follow up rejections with “how can I do better next time” queries.
7. Go to conferences or workshops, or join online or in-person writing “support” groups.
8. Try starting a blog. Even if it doesn’t take off, it’s good practice. It’s OK to blog just for yourself.
9. Write what you know … and then make an effort to learn more so you can write more.
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Every writer advances and reaches milestones at their own pace.
11. Be patient. If you stick with writing, you will find your place in your niche or genre of choice.
12. Don’t give up. Improving your writing skills takes time, but anyone can do it if they keep trying.
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Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.