1) Don’t go to “writers parties” especially if they’re made up of people who “know each other from the internet.”
2) Don’t spend too much time online or indoors. Go do something substantial you’ll remember later because you sure as hell won’t remember slumming around Facebook or watching TV.
3) Don’t “network.” Being friendly to someone because you think it will help your career should be a hanging offense. Be straight with people. They deserve your honesty. If you want something tell them. Life’s too short to schmooze.
4) Don’t try to be funny. Be funny but let it happen naturally. Don’t court it. If you know your characters well enough and you want them to be funny they’ll be funny on their own. If you want to learn about humor read the dialogue from War and Peace.
5) Don’t read what everyone else is reading. You need secret weapons not common currency. Find the beautiful books everyone’s forgotten.
6) Don’t get impressed by your own hype. When you get good press pretend it’s about someone else. Attention vs. purity is like salt vs. the slug.
7) Don’t ignore bad press. Let it make you mad. Remember the words of your detractors and use that anger to make yourself better. Most passion fades fast but anger is a thing you can live off.
8) Don’t get caught up in the romanticism of “being a writer.” The work matters not the fantasy life. Where will you go when the romance is gone?
9) Don’t write the kind of books you think will sell. Write the kind you’d not just WANT to buy but HAVE to buy.
10) Do: live as wild and free and earnest as you can; work every day and try your best to beat your best from before. Love the truth and true people. Respect strength and resolve. (Don’t wait for inspiration; it’s a fluke and a half-mythical thing for weekenders.) Put your head down and square your jaw and write honestly every day about what it’s like to live in the time you live.