1. Ask 'what if'. Let your imagination fly. See what and who shows up.
2. Don't pre-judge. You may think your 'what-if' is a short story - but it could be a novel. Or a play.
3. Eat cake. Eat chocolate. Eat chocolate cake.
4. Get outside and breath fresh air. Spending all day at your keyboard does not make you a better writer. It makes you stale.
5. Don't fence yourself in with set ideas about numbers of characters. You may very well need more. Or less. If you can meld two characters into one, the likelihood is you can meld more.
6. As you sit down to write, cursing and sweating, remember: This was a choice. No one held a gun to your head - you decided you wanted to do this.
7. Read voraciously. Read all types - you'll be amazed at what you can learn.
8. Be content with your own company - because that's what it's going to be a great deal of the time. If you always happier around other people, writing may not be the path for you.
9. Accept that not every word you're writing is brushed with genius. No one's is. Build a bridge and get over it.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:
10. Write what you would want to read.
This post originally ran last February. Please accept my apologies for rerunning a post. Issues abound in my patch of the woods. My thought was better a rerun than no post at all.