Friday, September 18, 2015

10 Tips for Writing Your First Novel

Writing your first novel may seem daunting, but it can be done. In fact, thousands of people write and publish a first novel each year. You can certainly be one of them.

1. Prepare Your Space

Preparing to write is the first key to success. You will need to create a comfortable work area with plenty of natural sunlight. If you will be writing at night, you will need good lighting to keep yourself awake and focused.

2. Time

Set up a writing schedule and plan your writing time wisely. Include breaks. For example, you might work for 45 minutes and then go do dishes or stretch for 15 minutes. This helps prevent burnout and lets you get other work done around the house.

3. Distractions

The hardest part about writing is avoiding all the distractions. Turn off the tv, post a "do not disturb" sign on the door, and let your family know that unless a tornado is heading straight for the house, do not bother coming in.

4. Set Goals

Break your novel down into small, manageable goals. For example, write a list of each thing you need to do to write and complete your novel, from outlining to writing each chapter. As you finish each step, cross it off your list and reward yourself with a handful of Skittles or a glass of wine.

5. Outline

Always have a basic outline of what your book is going to cover. Some fiction writers feel that an outline stifles their creativity. Far from true, a basic outline that takes the writer from event to event will improve the writer's skills and help keep the writer focused.

6. Less Talk, More Writing

Stop talking about what you are going to write. Write it down, instead. You can add it to your outline and eventually to your working novel.

7. Skip Perfection

When you sit down to write, skip perfection. Get your story written and worry about grammar, punctuation, and typos later.

8. Keep a Pen and Notepad

Whenever you are away from your writing area, always keep a pen and notepad on hand. You never know when an idea or plot twist is going to pop into your brain. Chances are, you may forget it by the time you get back home and have time to write it down. If you can't keep pen and paper on you, make a note on your phone. Send yourself an email.

9. Read Out Loud

Read what you have written out loud. The written word has a rhythm to it. Read out what you have written or set your computer to read it out to you. Check your wording and the flow of your words.

10. Don't Give Up

Don't become one of the quitters. When things aren't going well with your writing, take a break, take a walk, and clean out the refrigerator.

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