Take planned risks

If you've always written in first person, force yourself to write a book in third person. If you've always kept your distance from your characters, force yourself to write one story locked tightly inside your main character's skull, able to use only that character's senses and knowledge. Write something from the point of view of someone completely unlike you - someone you don't understand and don't think you ever could understand. Write a story from the point of view of a dog . . . and not a cutsie anthropomorphic dog, either, who thinks human thoughts. Write from inside a real dog, who doesn't think in words and who is driven by inhuman desires and guided by inhuman senses. Stretch the boundaries of who you are - stretch the boundaries of what you know and have allowed yourself to experience.

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