Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Never stop learning. Highlight what makes you unique. Identify your voice early on. Read widely. Write voraciously. Cultivate a love of writing.

We asked authors for their number one piece of advice to novice writers. Here’s their answers:

Note: This is part 4, of a four-part series:

Part 1: Inspiration & Rejection

Part 2: Perseverance, Self-doubt & Isolation

Part 3: Marketing & Publishing

Part 4: Advice to New Authors

Write more

‘Never stop writing, never ever. With every word, sentence, and chapter you will only get better.’ – E. J. Mellow

‘Write every day. Even if it is just a sentence or two. If you allow yourself to fall off the wagon, life will start to encroach on your craft. One day of no writing will turn into a weekend, then a week, then a month. So write every damn day.’ – Sophie Elaine Hanson

‘Never stop writing. Write about your experiences. Write about your dreams. Write about unforgettable moments. Embed a piece of yourself in your story to make it authentic. Make it real. Channel your emotions into writing to create something that is completely and utterly you.’ – Christine Rees

‘Write every day. Finish the book. Without that, you have nothing to edit, cover and promote.’ – Jessica Hawkins

‘Don’t stop writing! Even if you need to write about why you don’t want to write today.’ – Maldivian Stephen

‘Writing is the only way to get better. It’s like any sport. The more you do it, the better you become. I write 500 words minimum, 5 days a week. It’s a routine you have to get yourself into.’ – Justin Chasteen

‘Just write. Even if you think it’s going nowhere. Even if you think it stinks. Even if you’re convinced that no one in their right mind would ever, ever want to read it. Because you certainly can’t prove yourself wrong unless you try.’ – Lindsey Ouimet

‘First you must write. Get it on paper. I’ve found that if and when new writers read all these how-to books and articles, they freeze up. They’re so scared of doing it “wrong” or making a mistake, they can’t write at all. So don’t read that stuff. Just write.’ – M. Pepper Langlinais 

Read more

‘Read a lot. And I mean A LOT. Read in and out of your genre. Know what books, plots, and characters are out there.’ – Emily R. King

‘Reading has shaped my writing voice and style, and it has helped me navigate through some tough times in my life.’ – Hoang Chi Truong

‘Read! You cannot become a writer without reading. Read both inside and outside of your genre but don’t waste time reading books you don’t enjoy.’ – Jodi Gibson

‘Reading made me want to write. I had the gift of wonderful English teachers in high school who inspired me to read. Writing was as natural an afterthought as breathing in and then breathing out.’ – Kathryn Berla

‘Be fussy with what you read; aim to read as many books as possible by accomplished authors so you can learn the craft of writing while also reading.’ – Nadia L. King

‘Never stop learning and never stop reading in your genre.’ – Shaila Patel

On Finding your own voice

‘Write for yourself before any others. Write what you love and what motivates you. There’s an authenticity that emerges when we allow ourselves to tell the stories we want to tell, the way we want to tell them.’ – Rachel Rust

‘There’s always room for unique, well-written self-published books.  There’s no end to the different takes on new and old tropes, so as long as you identify your voice early on and stay on message, you can carve out a following for yourself.’ – Jessica Hawkins

‘Highlight whatever makes you unique. Write the story only you can tell. Different is good. Weird is better.’ – Megan Gaudino

‘There were times in the past when I was so lost, I couldn’t decide what voice I wanted to bring into my stories. In the end, I write the only voice I know, my own.’ – E. Mellyberry

For the love of writing

‘The biggest inspiration is that I simply enjoy doing it.’ – Justin Chasteen

‘Writing is my release. When life gets tough, it lifts me. When life is good, it enhances my happiness. It allows me to explore worlds I could never touch with my hands; to comb through thoughts I could never vocalize.’ – Sophia Elaine Hanson

‘Writing has become a way of life for me and I never want to stop.’ – Nadia L. King

‘Writing began as a therapeutic escape from my preteen troubles but morphed into a vision fueled by calling, determination and stubbornness.’ – Caroline George