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From March 14 to March 27, 2008, Simon & Schuster is launching our first annual Pulse Blogfest -- a two-week event where more than 120 of our top teen authors and all of their fans will come together to share ideas on one single blog. Before posting your own comments author's entries, check out how the event works!

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Nancy Butcher on advice for becoming an author

Brittany asks “What are your tips for aspiring authors?”

First, the obvious: Read and write as much as you can. Reading books will inspire you, make you smarter, and help you figure out what kind of writing you like and don’t like. Writing—whether it’s a daily journal, poems, stories, blogs, whatever—will keep your creative river flowing and help you find your voice, your topics, your passions as a writer.

And remember: Nothing you write will be wasted. I once knew a writer who went to a well-known artists’ retreat for six weeks, to work on his book. When he got back, he told me that he had to throw out everything he’d written during that time because it was garbage. “I’m sorry you wasted six whole weeks!” I told him. He shook his head and said no, it wasn’t a waste of time at all. “I had to write six weeks of garbage to get to the good stuff. And now I’m writing the good stuff.”

Second, and maybe this is obvious, too: Believe in yourself. I think that in many ways, becoming an author is harder than becoming a doctor or a stockbroker or whatever, because there isn’t an obvious path (like going to medical school or earning your stockbroker’s license). Also, it’s not always easy to get your family’s support. When I told my family I wanted to be an author, their response was, “But you’ll never make any money! You’ll be poor for the rest of your life unless you find a rich husband to pay the bills!” If you really want to become an author, trust that voice inside of you that says, “I want to write more than anything.” Stick to it. Work hard. Seek out teachers and other mentors who can help you improve your craft. Look into colleges with a strong creative writing program. When you’re old enough, figure out a way to pay the bills so you can write (until your writing pays the bills—and it can!).

Nancy Butcher is the author of BEAUTY. Visit her author page for more information.

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