Never leave home without something to write with and something to write on! (stock image courtesy of Microsoft Office Images)

Throughout my writing lessons and excursions, I've continued to build a mental list detailing everything I should keep in mind while scribbling away in my notebooks. So, naturally, I've written it all down to be shared with you!

Here are 8 quick tips and hints I've collected from friends and teachers and personal experiences. Some will seem almost common sense, but believe it or not, there's no such thing as too obvious a thought. My hope is that you'll find them as useful as I still do.

Enjoy!

1) Always Carry Pen and Paper:

The most important thing I can stress to anyone who loves to write - never leave home without something to write with and something to write on! Whether it's a fountain pen or a crayon, when you get that award-winning idea, it will drive you insane until you can scribble it out all over that torn up envelope you found in your bag.

2) Condition Yourself:

The best way to keep up with your writing is to have a consistent, daily writing schedule - e.g. write from 8am to 9am, write 5 complete pages, write a scene, etc. Once you've become used to this routine, you'll find that more writing will get done and there will be fewer excuses about not having time to do what you love.

3) Collect Your Inspirations:

Inspiration for a story idea is sparked by people and objects you see. However, it's not a daily occurrence, and inspiration may flat-line to the point where you haven't written a single word for days. My personal remedy for this is to create an Inspiration Book or Inspiration Folder on your computer. Fill it with everything that jumps out at you and gets you writing and take a daily look at it to build your ideas and let the juices flow.

4) Write What You Know and Expand:

A method I stuck to when I was writing my first couple of works for practice - take a situation you've seen or been a part of and build off of the conflict and characters involved. Here is your chance to over-exaggerate a story! For example, let's say you had a bad roommate and you came home one night to find the front door missing and your bed sticking out the window. There you go, you now have a conflict and most likely an antagonist once you find him/her sleeping in the shower with your partner.

5) No Such Thing as Writer's Block:

I know, I made the same face when my writing teacher taught me this. What you do to relieve tension as you're writing is occasionally put aside your work and start a new page. Begin with the word "The" and look for the closet object in the room to you - "The piano." Now imagine that piano has gone ablaze and you've got a multitude of things to write about - how did it catch on fire, who lit it on fire, what are people going to do? Continue with this exercise for 10 minutes and then return to your work.

6) Can't Find the Story You're Looking for? Write It!:

If you can't find that really awesome story you've been dying to read, write it yourself. Hey, if it's as awesome as you expected it to be upon finding it, why not be the one to take the credit for having written it?

7) Protect Your Work:

One thing that can't be emphasized enough is to constantly protect your work. Now, I'm not saying keep all your manuscripts locked up and never show anyone. What I am getting at though is to never reveal too much about what you're writing; it will keep you from getting plagiarized and even spark interest in others to want to read your work.

8) Let Your Baby Grow:

It's difficult to see your work in the hands of other people, but in order to let it grow and take form, you can't be that parent breathing down its neck. Be there to make sure nothing bad happens to it or so it doesn't get hurt, but also give it the chance to become something great with the help of others. No masterpiece can be completed alone.