1. Write! Don't just think about it. Write rubbish if you must. Most of us do to begin with. The Muse won't visit unless you make yourself available.
2. Put the work aside for a while. What looks masterly late at night can look dreadful in the morning, but the reverse is also true. I sometimes put ideas aside for years before I know what they're about.
3. Being a writer means finding your own voice and vision. We are all influenced, but don't imitate. Publishers are looking for freshness, authenticity, originality.
4. Be aware of your own motivation. If it is fame and fortune, think again. There are much easier ways. You may have to grope around for a long time before you know if you have something to say.
5. Read. The only kind of writers who don't read are celebrities who have their books written for them.
6. Play. Mess about with ideas. Don't expect a novel, play, poem, to appear fully formed. Houses are built, brick by brick. Stories, word by word.
7. Don't snatch. If an idea hovers into view, be very still, quiet, watchful until it swims within reach. Ideas can come in flashes, but more often they are furtive as fishes.
8. Persevere. Keep your bum on the chair.
9. Join a writers' group. Or if you can afford it, go on an Arvon Course, or to the Skyros Centre in Greece. I went to both places as a student and worked with first rate writers.
10. Have a reasonably difficult life. I don't think good writing comes out of easy living. Stories are never, ever, about everything being all right.
Tips and advice on how to become a professional Writer supplied by Children's Author Joyce Dunbar.