Are you the creative type that feels like you have hundreds of stories just waiting to pour out of you? Do you enjoy weaving tales on paper, developing intriguing characters, and getting lost in whole other worlds? Maybe you feel as though you have knowledge and insight that you want to share with others. These are all great reasons to start looking into a career as an author. An author has creative flexibility to choose their path and decide what kind of book they want to put out into the world. Of course, that’s all very exciting, and even a tad bit romantic to daydream that you are a bestselling author, but there are logistics that you should also be mulling over. How does one become an author exactly? How do you write a book that people are actually going to want to pick up, and better yet, purchase? Here we will take a look at how to write a novel with tips and advice geared towards those first-time authors.
Write About Something You are Passionate About
First things first, in order to write that incredibly successful novel, you need to come up with something that appeals to people. Rather than worry about what people are reading, what is trending, and what sells, focus on what topics or areas you feel passionate about.
Your passion will shine through in your writing, and that’s what will help to make your book a success. You can take a seemingly dull topic, and as long as you are passionate and have some knowledge about it, you can weave your words and really make it something special and intriguing.
An Outline Can be Very Helpful
An outline is one of those things that some authors swear by, whereas others never use it. It’s really up to you and your writing style. If you’re the type that needs to be organized and have a plan in place, then an outline is wise.
Your outline can include such things as the main plot points, the characters as well as character development, identifying the protagonist and antagonist in the story, the setting, and how you plan to end the book. If your big plan is to write a series, an outline can prove to be especially helpful as it can help you figure out where to break up the different books/parts.
Create a Deadline for Yourself
You’ve probably heard of people saying they’ve been writing on their prized novel for years, and that “one day” they will finish it up. While this may be fine for them, if you truly want to make a career out of writing, you need to be much more specific with your deadline. Professional authors are always dealing with deadlines from their editors and publisher, so the luxury of time isn’t something you will end up having. It’s best to understand that from the start, and push yourself to succeed within a set window.
The deadline will also act as motivation for you to forge ahead, not give up, and continue with your efforts. You want to be sure that your deadline is robust, but at the same time is fair. Telling yourself you’re going to write a whole novel in one weekend isn’t very realistic, and is probably setting you up for failure.
Create a Writing Schedule
Now that you’ve got a deadline, you need to create a writing schedule so you can meet that deadline. Setting aside a specific amount of time each day or week wherein you focus just on your novel is ideal. This means you limit all distractions including electronics and people, have a proper computer/desk set up, and tell yourself you will sit there at the desk during that scheduled writing time.
A good place to start is to tell yourself you will have a first draft ready in 30 days or less. While this may seem stressful at first, this is actually a very do-able deadline if you approach it in the right way. This exact topic is discussed in the “How to Write a Novel in 30 Days or Less” blog, which breaks down the process into seven easy-to-follow steps.
What About Writer’s Block?
One thing that can throw your plans off schedule is a case of writer’s block. This is when your mind draws a blank and you’re just feeling low on creativity, making it hard to write. There are all different ways you can deal with this temporary set-back, so there will likely be some trial and error involved. Some of the techniques you can use include:
A change in scenery – Go do your writing somewhere else in the house or outside the house.
Exercise – Many people find that exercising can help to clear the mind, and this will allow you to be more creative when you head back to your desk. Something like a bike ride, a walk, jog, or even a game of your favorite sport can be just the trick.
Doodle – Finding another creative outlet can also be helpful, and that could be doodling, drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, or any other type of activity.
Crank Some Tunes – Music can be very powerful for those trying to fight through writer’s block, as it is a great way to clear the mind.
Run It Past a Friend or Family Member
Once you have your first draft completed, it’s time for fresh eyes to take a look. Since this is your first novel, it’s best to get an outside opinion from a trusted source. Choose a close friend or family member to read it who is will to provide honest feedback. Let them know you are okay with critique, advice, tips, and ideas. Their feedback can help you to draft an even more powerful second draft.
Confidence and Persistence Will Pay Off
When it comes to the secret to success in writing your first ever novel, confidence and persistence are two things that will pay off in more ways than one. Thanks to these tips, you may soon discover that a career as an author is your path to success.