Being scared about writing your first novel? Been there, done that.
You are staring at the empty page, there’s an irresistible itch to fill it, and all your ideas are squirming around in your head.
The only problem is : how do you start? How do you write a novel? You have doubts about making it through the magical 50.000 words and even then.. what about the title or even the characters and how do I get a plot that’s interesting enough?
This blog will help you through these doubts and these blocking moments as I also write my way until the finish line and will help you write your novel.
10 tips for writing your first novel
1. There is no shame in how you plan your story and plot.
You may hear a lot of people telling you to always, always make an outline… don’t listen to them. Just like in anything, there is no ‘right way’ of writing a novel. Some people may want to chose to make an outline ( I started combining outlines with just wild wild west cowboy writing and it did help ) and others just go from point A to B without thinking of C and D let alone Z. If it fits, it sits.
Yes the latter need heavier editing and yes they can be a little bit more chaotic but they can also open up new doors and surprise you in ways you could never have imagined. So just do it your way… your way or the high way!
2.Don’t worry about anything at first
Just get through the first couple of words and let the clouds of ideas form in your head. The 50.000 mark is still far away so don’t think about it because it will bring you down. Don’t think about the title, don’t think about the font, just think about the bright idea you had and but it down on paper.
3.Don’t edit right away.
That is not how to write a novel the right way. One thing that can give you the worst writer’s block ever is writing everything down and editing it after. Yes I get you are a perfectionist, but please do put it aside for a little amount of time because you are killing your mojo. Editing comes in later. Maybe you can build in little editing etappes? For instance, first smaller edit after 10.000 words, second after 20.000 and so on. It’s the way I am doing it right now and I feel less depressed about the shit I sometimes pen down.
Deadlines are important when you write a novel. And no, I don’t live by them vigorously, but they do help. I use Ywriter to write because it has a great tool for word counting, word goals and small daily word goals you can keep yourself to.
5. Twitter, blogs and podcasts can help you in a big way.
I have been listening to Write2bRead for instance and the interviews with writers really fire me up because ” hey; I can do that as well ” and ” Wow, that actually is a great tip for writing!”
There are hundreds of good writing podcasts you can find online, on itunes or apps on android. Twitter has a small and good community for writers. It may be a little awkward to find good people to follow but the #amwriting tag is a good start.
6.Try to write every day.
Yes some days the letters I put on paper are just flat, stinking shit that I would delete the second I see them, but getting into the habit of writing every day is more important than getting something good on there.
7. I don’t delete as much as I used to.
Almost everything can be salvaged. The shit I spray my manuscript with can be used as great manure for beautiful wordflowers to grow ( how cheesy, god…) so I tend to let it ” ripe ” a bit before really deleting it.
8. You’re done? Great, now you can do a big editing!
Do remember not to delete but just to try and salvage and polish!
9. Don’t let your friends and parents read your drafts.
They will tell you it is great and that you have a great talent for writing. You are looking for some good critiques whit which you can work. No writer ever got better by listening to how great they are.
10.The most important is : believe in yourself and in your writing.
Millions of people have started a book but the hardest part is getting through to the end. Just believe you can do it and go do it!
Let me know how you are getting on with your book! I would love to hear about your struggles, about your victories or just the ideas you are working on. I hope these tips on how to write a novel were interesting and helpful.