4. Fake It Till You Make It.
Speaking of stealing, do you know the saying, "Good writers borrow, but great writers steal"? Well, it's true. The first book I ever wrote was a gentle rip-off of Stuart Little. I was ten years old. I had just read Stuart Little. I loved it. So I wrote a book about a mouse who goes around the country stealing Cheetos. Okay, so it wasn't very good. But I know enough to imitate a master like E.B. White. My sister Sarah did the same thing. Sarah illustrated my first book and still draws all the picture for my books today. She's a terrific artist now, but when she was your age she wasn't. She just knew she liked to draw. So she went to the store and bought a pad of tracing paper. Then she went to the library and checked out Stuart Little - after I returned it. Then she sat on her bed with that book and tracing paper, and spent the summer learning how to draw a mouse. If you like to draw, get some tracing paper and some books from the library. I know sometimes kids think it's cheating to use tracing paper. But this is how you learn how to do it. You won't need tracing paper forever - just until you develop your own style. Writers do the same thing. We imitate the writers we like until we find our own style. Because once you find your own style, that's when you can really make a splash.