10 Things I Wish I Had Known

When I started writing, I needed answers and guidance. I wish someone would have told me:

  1. Research doesn’t mean a jaunt to the library or sailing through cyberspace. It means a trip into your characters’ lives.
  2. Some critics are like boo birds that sit on their lofty power lines and mess on those below.
  3. When I grow up, I will know the difference between lie and lay and sit and set. Until then, my characters will rest and stand.
  4. A writer doesn’t know her characters or their motivation until they start speaking to her.
  5. True success is 100 pages without an adverb.
  6. Emotional pain knocks at the writer’s heart and bleeds onto the written page.
  7. A writer’s goal is for the character to change and grow. But if the writer doesn’t experience the same transformation, neither will the reader find value in the story.
  8. A good writer knows all the weirdos in his family are a compilation of himself.
  9. A good writer knows that cutting the flab in her manuscript adds muscle.
  10. A writer’s tools are words—so add to them daily, memorize their meanings, and learn to spell them like a spelling bee champion.

DiAnn Mills is an award-winning author and the Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Visit her at www.diannmills.com.


  1. says

    Hi DiAnn, I just discovered this blog/website today. Your ten points are great – some made me laugh out loud, especially #2, 3 and 9.

    #6, “Emotional pain knocks at the writer’s heart and bleeds onto the written page” speaks to me most. The pain has been knocking but to let it bleed is what I’m struggling with right now.

    I’ll be back to the site to check it out further. Thanks for your inspiration.

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