Like most traditionally published authors, I am a writer with a day job. Such is the nature of this industry, even being traditionally published does not guarantee a decent enough income upon which to survive! This means when I write, I write when I can, usually early mornings and late evenings and almost all weekends.
I am lucky however to work from home, which means that when the ideas and words are following, there’s no commute or irritable boss breathing down my neck!
Below are my tips for budding and fellow writers to help things flow along a little easier.
You never know when that idea will come to you. I always have to hand a notepad to jot down ideas they are never lost. I think it was writer Will Self who said an idea will hang around for five minutes before it goes. Just enough time to be scrawled into your little black book.
When I am working on a project, I make a point of working to a strict timetable and schedule. This is usually between the hours of 7 and 9am and 8 and 11pm. Five hours a day means you can move a manuscript on fairly quickly. I make of a point of sitting there, even if the words aren’t coming. The brain can be a stubborn beast and sometimes you need to be stubborn back.
My favourite places to write are coffee shops, pubs and cars (don’t ask). I have an office at home, where I do the majority of my writing, but whenever I get stuck or am in need of inspiration, I’ll seek out one of my preferred environments and work there. I also find a good walk or run in the countryside always helps to shake things up.
I write directly onto my Macbook. I never write first drafts by hand. There isn’t the connection, I think because my hand can’t keep up with my ideas (when they’re in full flow), whereas I can type as well as the best of them.
I love researching a topic for my books. Research is like having an adventure before you have an adventure with words about it. Research is absolutely essential for your writing, not only so you get things correct in the book, but if you are well versed in a subject, the ideas flow so much quicker.
You are, of course, the main judge of your work, but you are not the only judge and you are also probably not the best judge either. Writing is a lonely and isolating experience. It blinkers your opinions and makes it hard to know if what you’ve written is good, bad or indifferent. Beta readers give you the ability to test your work and see if you’re on the right track, or if you need pushing back in the right direction.
People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.