1. Write What You Want To Read
This is so incredibly important. You don’t want to write something that even you wouldn’t be interested in. There’s no point writing a ‘popular genre’ if you don’t actually like that genre.
You need to write what you’re interested in. Write what you enjoy. The audience will come, you don’t have to chase after the current fad. Always write what you want to read, then it will be interesting and you will dedicate more time and energy to it.
2. Write As Often As You Can
“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”Ernest Hemingway
It’s hard to set out specific times to write. “I will write between 6pm and 7pm” isn’t always feasible. I always have a notebook on me, and the notes app on my phone is always open. I never know when inspiration will hit, and it’s important to write it down as soon as an idea comes to me.
I also like to write when I am in-between something. I write during my lunch breaks at work, I write in the passenger seat of the car and I even write while cooking dinner. It’s useful to write whenever you can, and you can come up with some amazing ideas while writing in these small windows.
Of course, it’s not always completely feasible – but definitely give it your best shot and try to write as often as you can!
3. Write Intentionally
Try not to write just for the sake of writing. It is important to have some sort of idea or goal that you’re headed towards. It is very useful to jot down all sorts of ideas, but when you’re adding to your novel you need to ensure that each addition is intentional.
Make sure you know your characters and your setting. Intentionally write each scenario and how each character is feeling. It’s important to be intentional with your writing, and not willy-nilly. Don’t throw robots into a medieval novel because it needed some drama!
Be intentional. Find time during your day to sit down and focus on your writing. It will help your creativity and keep your novel in the right direction.
4. Create A Writing Space
I love my desk. I love being able to sit down at my desk, open up my document and get to work. It is an environment that relaxes me and enables me to be productive.
It’s not always possible to sit down at my desk, but it is so good when I can. I find having a specific space for my writing is calming and helps me focus.
Dress up your writing space with whatever you need! Plants, photos or pens – add what you want to keep you focused and in the zone for writing!
5. Don’t Expect Your First Draft To Be Good
“The first draft is black and white. Editing gives the story color.”Emma Hill
First drafts are rarely that good. It takes patience and a lot of editing to perfect your novel and get it to where it needs to be.
When I first started writing, all I thought was that my first draft would be great and publishable. It definitely was not. It can be frustrating and feel like a slow process, but you do need to edit your novel and ensure that it makes sense and is good.
The first draft is like an outline of the novel, giving an overview of everything that happens. When you edit it, you include more character development and go far more in-depth into the story. You can’t be disheartened when your first draft isn’t as good as you thought it would be: just keep pushing forward and edit that baby!
6. Get Feedback
I admit that I find it really hard to ask for feedback. I get embarrassed over my work and don’t want others to critique it. Unfortunately, that will always happen. Especially once it is released to the public!
I find it useful to get friends and family to read my novels. They will be honest, but also kinder than a reviewer. It’s nice to get positive and constructive feedback on your work before it’s out there for everyone else to critique.
If your family and friends like it, and they think it’s good, then it helps immensely to boost confidence. It’s really important to get feedback from people and edit accordingly.
7. Set Goals
“I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule.”Herman Wouk
Goals just work for me. If I don’t have a goal, I often get a little lost and off track. For me, it helps to set small goals and small rules and try to meet those. If I break one occasionally, it’s not the end of the world. But it helps to have that guide around.
I set a general goal of writing an hour each day. Sometimes I meet that, sometimes I’m under and sometimes I don’t write at all. But I try to meet that goal because it is there. It helps to have that direction and drive to meet a goal.
I also set goals for writing timeframes and editing timeframes. I try to make sure that I have a goal for when I want to finish a novel and when I want to finish editing a novel. I don’t always hit these goals, but I get close because they are driving me forward.
8. Create Some Form Of Outline
In addition to goals, it helps to have some sort of outline for your novel. I kales sure that my characters are developed, and I know the basic storyline before I start writing my novels.
It helps to have an outline, because you can then determine what happens and how your characters get to where they need to go. I always outline a basic structure, of how characters meet and what their end goal is. It helps keep me focused and know exactly where I want the story to go.
9. Write Like You Talk – Make Speech Believable
When you’re writing dialogue, try saying it out loud. Sometimes you realise how clunky dialogue is when spoken. Written word and spoken word are very different, and you need to make sure that the characters are speaking realistically.
Think about mannerisms they have while speaking – do they touch their face a lot? Do they stutter? Do they twiddle their thumbs? You need to add those kinds of mannerisms into your novel and show how a person speaks.
People have different speech patterns and different speech mannerisms; you need to show that in each individual character to create a diverse character pool.
10. Read, Read, Read
“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”Jim Rohn
This point has never been an issue for me, as I love to read. But you definitely need to read books and continue to read as often as possible! It keeps your creative juices flowing and it helps to draw inspiration and learn new techniques.
Plus, reading is a fantastic escape into fictional worlds. It’s nice to be able to get away from reality for a while and absorb yourself in a good book. It will help your mind and soul to keep on reading!