Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Writing Tips from Bestselling Writers

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

We all have our revered and treasured writers who never fail to bring us exciting and quality reads. Let’s look at a few bestselling writers’ favorite writing tip(s) in alphabetical order.

“Learn to deal with criticism and rejection. Every writer experiences rejection at one time or another. The important thing is what they do with it. A writer who accepts helpful critiques is able to move forward and write better. Thoughtfully consider the red marks and notes from editors/reviewers. Be honest with yourself and your work. I’ve heard stories at writer’s conferences about writers who won’t accept constructive criticism. They're in love with what they put on the page, and they refuse to listen to editors or agents who give helpful critiques. A person who can’t look at his/her writing honestly and make changes is not likely to ever be published.” 

“Write SOMETHING. You can fix words. You can’t fix a blank page.”

“It's not a book, it's a career."

This advice from author Tom Young stuck with me over the years. He offered it to me not long after my introduction to the thriller community via ThrillerFest's debut author program. Since then, I've come across so many writers who've been "working on their novel" for years. Finish that book. Move on to the next one. Keep writing. As Tom said, being a professional author is not about that one book. It's a career filled with books.

“Discard your outline. Follow the story where it’s nudging you to go rather than trying to tell it what to do. Be responsive as it unfolds, and always let characters act in honest and believable ways.” 

“My best tip is twofold:
Don’t quit and be willing to learn while you wait!” 

“Every day: read, write, edit, pray, and repeat.”

“Read your book aloud, especially the dialogue sections. I’m always amazed how many mistakes I find when I read aloud. More importantly, I often change the dialogue after reading aloud because I realize I didn’t quite have the inflection right or that there’s a quicker or better way to get the idea across. If your book will become an audiobook, it’s all the more important to read your work aloud to be sure everything sounds as good in audio form as it does in written form.

My other advice is: Check the first lines of every scene to be sure you’ve given the reader a visual “stage” on which the action takes place. Even five words—'She gripped the steering wheel.’—lets the reader picture the scene as if it were a movie.”

“Reach out to other authors and not be afraid to ask questions.

Read more in both fiction and writing craft books.

Don’t compare yourself to other authors—everyone’s journey is different.

Don’t be in a hurry to get published—more than one author told me this one. Be careful which contracts to accept. Research as not all publishers are equal.”

What is your favorite writing tip?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. 

She is the former director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson. Connect here:


  1. DiAnn,

    What a great article and valuable advice for every author whether beginning or experienced. Thank you for pulling this together.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

  2. Oh my goodness! One great tip after another! How do I choose among them? Nope ... not gonna. I choose them all!

  3. Wonderful wisdom. Thank you, DiAnn. One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Bach: "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't give up."

    1. Kay, I love that quote! Thanks.

  4. I love all these great tips! I never want to stop learning about the craft of writing, and this is all such good advice!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. You are so welcome. I know you have tons of tips for writers.