Let’s presume you are serious about becoming a published author. It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or you go the traditional route. The point is still the same. So what does it really take? Let’s take a look.
If we assume for the most part many new writers start their career while they are working a full-time job, or raising a family. Or, simply doing other things. So it is important to set aside a small amount of time on a daily or weekend basis to write. This takes discipline and commitment. It is vitally important to stick to a routine if you want to see your novel completed say within the year. And importantly, you value what you are doing.
Set yourself a target that you can achieve like writing 500 words a day and stick to it. If you can only work over the weekends then commit to writing something like 2,000 words. Whatever it is, make it something you can stick to without feeling defeated or overwhelmed. This habit will get better the more you do it and will pay off as you see your draft taking shape!
Set a deadline for completing your book or short story and unless you have a really good reason (like illness or worse) again and stick to it. View writing as a craft that takes time and input to learn and master. This includes writing even if you do not feel inspired to do any writing at all. Write your way OUT of these barriers despite how blocked you may be feeling! Think like an established writer and keep going no matter what.
This might sound like a odd point to make, but be CREATIVE when you start writing. Let me explain. If you are writing a novel why not brainstorm when coming up with characters and plot. Don’t see this creative stage as rigid; go wild. Jot down ideas and change things around until that main character and that plot feel right. Remember, your first draft is exactly that a draft. All things can be changed by you the author as you do the re-writes and the editing. Be sure to do the editing of your work after you have finished writing. Don’t be tempted to do it as you go along, it will slow you down.
Another good habit to get into is to devise an outline of your novel before you write anything. It can be a general outline of the entire book or a chapter by chapter breakdown. Or you might be one of those people like the writer Stephen King who does not plot their writing and yet still produces excellent fiction. Personally, I am a combination of the two. Again I think it’s down to you what feels natural, it’s something you will establish over time.
Finally, as a new writer you should not think about the possible outcome of your work. This will prove to be too distracting. Instead, be inspired and write what you want to write. Ponder about the possible reactions of agents and publishers afterwards. After all, originality should be the quest of every artist!
- Commit to an amount of time
- Set a writing/word count target
- Set a deadline
- Brainstorm for ideas
- Use an outline or plan
Until next time
Happy Writing, S