1. Practice. Practice. Practice. I started writing for children about four years ago. I look back at what I wrote in that first few months and shake my head. Could you do the zombie dance from the Thriller video the first time you tried it? Me neither. But man, I practiced and now I can thrill you more than any ghoul would ever dare try.
2. Yes, classes do help. I have taken a writing class and a poetry class in the last few years that have led to tighter writing and a few acceptances. Assignments also force you to try styles of writing you might not otherwise. When I took dance classes long ago, I learned shuffle-ball- change, a pirouette, and much more. Should I try the hip hop class next?
3. Keep hydrated. You need to be alert. Get that Starbucks coffee or in my case, fountain pop Coke from McDonald’s or better yet, a nice tall glass of ice water. Now that you are refreshed, get to that writing. Take sips in between paragraphs, and keep going! When it is time to dance, you also need hydration. Ice water is best here, too, but sometimes a margarita is much more effective to get those hips shakin’.
4. You will fail, and you will succeed. Yes, you have had rejections from publishers. But you tried and tried again. And received an acceptance. That made you dance. Then you tried to do the lambada* with the cable guy. Rejection again. But then you did the hokey pokey with your five year old. Success!
5. Once in a while, let loose and freestyle. Don’t outline. Don’t plan. Just let the words flow. You can revise later. Then turn on the music and move. Shake it, baby, shake it! Just move! You can put ice on your sore muscles later.