Q: If you could talk to novice-writer self, what bit of advice would you give?
A: Since I’m fairly new to writing, I’m not convinced that I’m out of the novice stage yet, but if I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice, I would tell myself not to be afraid of failing. Much of learning to write, I’ve found, is doing things badly until I figure out how to do them better. In my office, I have a bulletin board filled with scraps of paper, a French postcard of citrus fruits, and my writing bingo card. There’s a quote from Richard Bausch up there: “You can’t ruin a piece of writing. You can only make it necessary to go back and try again.”
I’d also tell myself to go read some Anthony Trollope, because he is hilarious and excellent at that whole omniscient narrator thing. Read widely, young writer-self. Also, don’t be too worried about adverbs.