1. When you encounter a new idea, run with it. See where it goes. Don’t hesitate. Just start writing.
2. Write on a set schedule. Not every day, not even every other day. But do have a plan and stick to it. You will never improve if you don’t practice consistently.
3. Don’t use a dictionary. Write using words you know and understand. It’s how you develop your own original style. You can always go back and edit later.
4. Write what you know … until you get comfortable enough to start writing about what you don’t know.
5. Mimic stories you know and love. The more you write, the more you learn to diverge from what’s familiar.
6. Pay attention to parts of others’ stories you don’t love and write the opposite in your own.
7. Don’t let uncertainty block your path. The best way to figure out where a story is going is to just keep writing it.
8. Never settle for the first ending you come up with. Always try something different — see how it goes.
9. Never be afraid of surprises. You’re never going to know everything about your story before you start writing it.
10. Not feeling like you know what you’re doing is basically the definition of what it means to be a writer. We learn and grow as we go. Go forth into the unknown.
11. Make mistakes. All the mistakes. That’s how you learn not to make mistakes.
12. Write because you want to. Never because someone else says you should. Never because you don’t feel you have another choice. Own your words. And your destiny.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.