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I recently attended a workshop where the instructor told us: Keep your pen—or pencil or computer keys—moving. I think that is the best advice I've ever gotten.

Although I've never believed in writer's block, still, there are moments when the brain seems to stop functioning. And that's when you need to keep your pen moving. Even if you have to write the same sentence over and over again.

I read a lot of biographies and picture books.

My favorite biography writer of all time is Jean Fritz. One of my favorites of hers is George Washington's Breakfast. She is great with details.

You need to pay attention to details whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction.

When I teach a writing workshop, the first thing I do is find out who has received rejections. When one or two people shyly raise their hands, we applaud them.

You will never become a published author if you don't send your manuscripts to publishers. And chances are that when you send your manuscripts out, you will get back one or two—or twenty-seven—rejections.

So get started. What are you waiting for? Start pulling in those rejections.

My friend—and great writer—Judy Delton, first passed along that bit of advice. Some writers refer to them as descriptive verbs.

Check the verbs in Daddy Played Music for the Cows. I'll give a couple of examples:

When they strolled inside in slow motion, he picked me up and waltzed me down the aisle between them....

"I was at the SCBWI conference in Tualatin where you spoke in May. The first thing you said is that you wanted to help and encourage, then you went on to tell us of your rejections. You told us that writing is hard work, and that we would get scared and then you gave us the skiing analogy. You told us not to be afraid of failure, to keep trying and not to give up, and to expect a "face plant."

"It was awesome...I felt like you were there talking to me, no one else, just you giving me a pep talk and I was so encouraged. I didn't want another day to go by without you knowing how much you helped and encouraged me that day."

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