www.MaryAnnRodman.com  
ADVICE FOR WRITERS
 
1. "MaryAnnRodman.com" Selection 1 Selection 2 2. "About Mary Ann"
3. "My Favorite Books" Selection 3 Selection 4 4. "My Day As a Writer"
5. "Advice For Writers" Selection 5 Selection 6 6. "Scrapbook"
7. "Mary Ann's Books" Selection 7 Selection 8 8. "Mary Ann in Person"  
9. "Award Winning Author"   Selection 9 Selection 10 10. "Appearances"
 
 
  1. Read read read! The more you read, the more you will think like a writer. I always have a book with me to read when I am stuck someplace...like a doctor's office, or in line at the supermarket.
    There are also some terrific books about writing. My favorites are WHAT'S YOUR STORY, by Marion Dane Bauer for kids AND adults); and the following books for adults: ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING by Ray Bradbury; anything by Natalie Goldberg; WRITING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BRAIN by Henriette Ann Klauser; BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott; STEERING THE CRAFT by Ursula K. Le Guin; WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Dennis Palumbo; IF YOU WANT TO WRITE by Brenda Ueland; POEMCRAZY by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge
  2. Write write write. Write something every day. Maybe it's just a long email to a friend. Or an entry in your journal. But write something. Your writer brain will freeze if you don't.
  3. Pay attention! Watch people at the mall. Notice how they walk and talk and dress. Notice the details. I always like to see what people buy at the grocery store, and wonder why they have bought things like lettuce and diet soda and chocolate doughnuts at the same time.
  4. Collect names. I am always on the lookout for fun names of places, and unusual people's names. Did you know there is a Bucksnort, Tennesse, and a Toad Suck, Arkansas? I met a Wal-Mart check-out girl named Santa Fe, and a make-up saleslady named Kenitra. I keep lists of names in my journals. Which brings me to...
  5. Keep a journal. If nothing else, it lets you have a temper tantrum on paper without bothering anybody else. It clears your head to vent all that stuff out so you can get on with some real writing. But it can also help you to remember all the little details of things you might want to use later. I have journals all the way back to third grade.
  6. Eavesdrop. I know it's rude to listen in on other's people conversations...but I think it's perfectly OK to pay attention to what the person at the next restaurant table is saying. Just don't LOOK like you're listening...they'll stop talking! (One of the things I didn't like about living in Thailand was that a lot of people didn't speak English..and I couldn't eavesdrop!)
  7. Learn from people who know more than you do. If there are writer's classes or workshops available, take them. I had written all my life, but I really kicked into high gear when I was in the MFA program at Vermont College. (I highly recommend this program for adults who are SERIOUS about writing for children.)
  8. Keep on writing...even if you get a million rejection letters. Some people keep track of how many rejection letters they got before they sold something. I didn't, because I like to focus on NOT being rejected. However, I DO know that my first picture book was rejected seventeen times before it was bought.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@2006 Mary Ann Rodman