I'm reading a great book -- writers, pay attention! It's called Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly, by Gail Carson Levine, author of award winning Ella Enchanted. She developed this book after running a writing program for children in her area, and while it's clearly marketed to the very young writers among us, I'm finding that it's very inspirational, fun, and full of helpful tips. (Even at my advanced age, har har.)
1. The best way to write better is to write more.
2. The best way to write better is to write more.
3. The best way to write better is to write more.
4. The best way to write more is to write whenever you have five minutes and wherever you find a chair and a pen and paper or your computer.
5. Read! Most likely you don't need this rule. If you enjoy writing, you probably enjoy reading. The payoff for this pleasure is that reading books shows you how to write them.
6. Reread! There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become part of you, in a way that words in a book you've read only once can't.
7. Save everything you write, even if you don't like it, even if you hate it. Save it for a minimum of fifteen years. I'm serious. At that time, if you want to, you can throw it out, but even then don't discard your writing lightly.
If that's not enough to convince you, there's more information here at her website, http://www.gailcarsonlevinebooks.com/.