1. Everyone has a Most Productive Hour. This is the time during which your prose sings without effort. Taking advantage of this time-zone is not always easy. Mine, for example, is between 4 and 5-am.
2. Oxygen is “dangerous”. Some inventor personalities believe that reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain enhances the creative processes. I swim to come up with new ideas because it forces me to focus on my breathing, but do not condone asphyxiation for art’s sake.
3. Hotel pens are the best. It’s not like you can afford a stationery budget on your pay grade, anyway.
4. Conference pens are second best. They tend to splinter if you grip them too hard.
5. Long-form narrative. Is an attitude, not a word-count. Minimalism is all the rage with fiction these days, but you need a special calibre of persistence and perversion to write an epic. Tolstoy, Homer, and the 12 Disciples didn’t tweet their way to fame.
6. You cannot beat Hemingway at his own game.
7. Bad dreams are healthy. They expunge the dark by-products of the imagination and sometimes inspire new threads of story.
8. Haikus do not count as part of your “creative portfolio”. See #5. Unless they’re calligraphed onto stone, or the side of a famous building.
9. Pulp fiction isn’t trash. I love the science fiction canon of the mid-20th century, and I respect Paullina Simons for making me want to slap Alexander out of his self-sacrifical hubris. Did you know that Arthur C. Clarke’s name encircles the entire planet? A lot of people diss J.K. Rowling for ripping off Tolkien, Lewis, et al, but the same people chortle at what Tom Stearns said about poetic larceny. Read a lot, and get good.
10. You’re nothing special, and yet you are. Everything you write takes you a little closer to your own voice. Your only competition should be your last work. Write not for fame and glory, but because you must and can.