It’s January, and after all the Christmas excesses and New Year indulgences, it’s time to start afresh, and that usually means – New Year’s Resolutions!
A lot of people think about writing a novel and perhaps you’re going to make this your New Year’s resolution. Maybe writing is something you’ve wanted to do for ages or perhaps you just want to try your hand at something new. Either way, here are my tips.
Don’t wait! If you want to write a novel, get started right away. Procrastination is your enemy. Before you know it, January turns into February turns into August and then you’re back at New Year’s again… with no novel. So, start now before the year runs away with you.
Write something. Anything! One thing I’ve learned is to eschew perfectionism and allow myself to make mistakes in order to free my creativity. I am happy with a rough first draft because it means I then have something to work with later on. As Jodi Picoult said – You can’t edit a blank page. So write something rough, write something messy, even write something badly, as long as you write something!
Plan or don’t plan – that’s up to you. All writers have different processes. Some plot their scenes with a spreadsheet, others decorate their walls with colourful post-it notes to plot out their timelines. Some will wing it and weave the story as they go along. Whenever I begin a new book I start with a carefully plotted spreadsheet, vowing to stick to the plan, and then completely discard it in the course of writing as the story begins to take on a life of its own. Either way, don’t get too hung up on “the perfect way to write a novel” – you’ll find your process and what works for you.
Make time. I know it can be tough to squeeze writing into your already busy schedule. As a mother of two under two, I have written three novels this year and believe me, you CAN find time if you really want to. You would be surprised at how much ten minutes here and there add up. I’ve written scenes while stirring boiling saucepans of pasta. I’ve edited in the dark of night hiding under the duvet so the light from the screen won’t wake up the baby. I think obsessively about my books and characters so even when I’m not writing I am crafting scenes in my head and sending email notes to myself from my phone so I don’t forget my ideas. Write with urgency, write with passion, write on the toilet, in the shower, on the train, forgo sleep if you have to. You CAN do this!
If you decide to go ahead and write a novel this year, do get in touch and let me know how it goes. I’d so love to hear about your writing journey and offer any support and encouragement I can.
Good luck, and all the best for a happy and prosperous (and COVID-free) 2021!! xxx