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15 easy steps to being a better writer

Here are some tips for reading and writing from Jack Gantos, author of The Penny Tree and the Jack books:

1. Read or rot! (Your choice.)

2. Reading is the key to writing.

3. Set goals: Write for 15 minutes each day.

4. Start a journal.

5. Read with a flashlight at night.

6. Read every day.

7. Join a public library.

8. Newspapers are a writer's eyes and ears to the world.

9. Keep a list of favorite words.

10. Always draw.

11. Know the elements of writing. (Characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, solution, reflection.)

12. Writers are good listeners.

13. Write about what you know about. (Examples: yourself, family, friends, pets, true life. . . .)

14. Turn off the TV.

15. Have a favorite place to write.