In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s worth pointing out that I am only weeks into my own journey to becoming an author. Even in that relatively short time, I have learnt SO much that I felt the inspiration to write this piece.
Sitting comfortably? Got a coffee? (Tip 0 is definitely that writers survive on coffee*) We shall begin!
Get yourself a notebook and pen:
When you unlock the writer in you, you can expect that inspiration will appear, fully formed and ready to roll at the WORST times. Not all of these can be helped; this morning my brain gave me a complete scene, with dialogue, perfectly constructed, whilst I was showering. I mean it was good. And probably around 600 words. By the time I was out of the shower? Gone.
But, for all other times, having a notebook & pen, Dictaphone or other way of streaming your consciousness is a must and one of the best tips I received when I first started.
This is my real notebook and pen. It’s full of ideas, thoughts, fluff, scraps and plans. As I say, a must, even just to clear out ideas that won’t come to anything!
Not something I had heard of and technically not essential, but you me, Scrivener is a fantastic writing tool. It lets you structure your novel in chapters, keeps word counts, store research, has a pin board, is loaded with prompts, templates, ideas… I could be here all day.
Especially for a novice, it’s a really useful tool and, if you invest in one thing after the notebook, I would make it Scrivener! More details can be found here:
Get your Twitter on:
Now, you’re probably thinking that I am suggesting the PR side of things, but no, actually. I would suggest that you get on there to meet other writers, get to know them and connect. Having a support network is so important with this type of work; the encouragement, ideas, shared experiences and having a peer to bounce thoughts off is invaluable.
Now, when you do get on Twitter, remember to be a positive and supportive member of the community. Negativity in a community can be very destructive and is completely unnecessary, so give others the respect and support that you’d like to receive. It’ll come back ten fold.
Wondering who to add first? Well, I’ve heard this account is a zinger:
Make it official:
Telling friends and family can seem a daunting idea, but, for me, it proved to be a huge bonus with friends and family rallying around in support. Funnily enough, my family were far from surprised and had been expecting it to some extent I think.
Also, be ready for advice and questions when you do tell people. Everyone wants to know what your book is about and has things for you to check out. My advice? If you’re not clear in your own mind about the book, just tell them to wait and see. Plus for the articles and things to read, do it. You never know where some good advice will come from!
The best advice that I received was to start writing. Not wait until I’d read this blog or that book. Not leave it until next month/ week/ year, cos buddy, that page ain’t gonna fill itself. So, get on it. Write. Badly. Quickly. Slowly. In bits. A load. I don’t care, just get stuck in.
No-one else is going to tell your story for you, so if you don’t we’ll never know how it starts, let alone how it ends.
And remember, the only thing that separates a wannabe writer from an actual writer is starting. Now get to it!
There you have it folks, my top five tips for new writers. One thing I can’t help but wonder is how my view will change in the weeks, months and years to come. Who knows?
Let me know what you think of my tips below, maybe I’ll follow up with the another set of tips from writer friends? Sound good?
More importantly, why are you still here, didn’t you read point five?!?!
(* I am more a tea man, and worry this stops me being a real writer!!)