7 pieces of author advice from the L.A. Times Festival of Books

7 pieces of author advice from the L.A. Times Festival of Books
A young reader relaxes on the grass at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus on April 19. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands crowded the USC campus over the weekend for the 20th annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. As attendees made their way from panel to performance, food truck to book signing, they undoubtedly picked up bits of wisdom revealed by authors along the way.

Here are just some of the great words of advice the many authors had to give:


"Always do things that disrupt your comfort zone," Brian Grazer said. "If you do this with a pure heart, and you don't approach it with an ask … the dots do connect."

Author Meghan Daum advised writers not to worry about whether readers will like what they write. "No one will love you until someone hates you," Daum said.

"[T]he more you learn about something, the more likely it is for your mind to change," Malcolm Gladwell said. "Knowledge only rarely confirms what you thought you already knew. Most of the time, digging into something just makes you realize how dumb you were before."

Award-winning children's author Jacqueline Woodson suggested, "If you have no road map, you have to create your own."

"I've always felt like your fears are the gateways to your dreams," Jason Segel said. "It's walking through them that you get to have these really great experiences … that make you strong."

Mystery writer Ivy Pochoda told the audience, "The most important thing is to write a book you want to read. It's odd how many people write books they think other people would like to read."

"I think it is impossible to reach your full potential as a human being without being a reader," Levar Burton said.

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