Everyone is different. However, if I could go back in time and give myself advice when starting to write, I would say this: 1. Go into a room and write for about an hour, or about an hour and fifteen minutes five days a week. When finished, leave. 2. Write short stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. They can be about anything - about an object in the room - about two mice falling off a step. It doesn't matter. Make it up. 3. Writing is a craft, then an art. Learn the craft first. They are like the walls of a house. The art is the roof. Write. The first couple hundred stories build writing muscle. Keep going. 4. Understand basic grammar. 5. Read good short story writers. 6. Lower your ambitions. It takes time. 7 . Cultivate patience. It is a marathon, not a sprint. 8. Make a commitment. It is unrealistic to be motivated every day. 9. Avoid distractions when writing. 10. Get the rent paid. Sort out your hierarchy of needs. If your situation is unstable, writing is difficult. 11. Don't let a sense of failure in writing leak into your sense of self. And don't dwell on the past. 12. Write in good light. You will damage your eyes in time. 13. Stretch. Exercise. Writing will damage you if you let it. 14. Keep writing and the idea of being a writer separate. It is all about the activity. 15. Measure success by effort. Do your best. Therefore, it is always in your hands to succeed. Do not base confidence on the belief in your own ability. Base it on doing your best. Doing your best is different from achieving your best. 16. If you can, take the occasionally holiday, or short break. I think Stendhal nailed it - 'Had I mentioned to someone around 1795 that I planned to write, anyone with any sense would have told me to write for two hours every day, with or without inspiration. Their advice would have enabled me to benefit from the ten years of my life I totally wasted waiting for inspiration.'