There are three rules for writing a novel…
unfortunately no-one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham
So you want to write.
Maybe you’ve secretly jotted down some words that you are terrified to show anyone. Maybe you just like the idea but don’t know where to begin. Or maybe you’ve been writing for a while, but you feel like you’re kind of making it up as you go along, and that when your writing ‘works’, this is because the creative writing deities have mysteriously aligned for reasons you don’t quite understand and cannot control.
I believe writing is a skill that can be learned.
I believe that there are no hard and fast rules for writing, but there are processes that unleash your creativity and techniques to make your writing more effective.
I believe creating fiction is about making creative choices and that improving your writing is about developing conscious control over those choices.
I believe that there are no right or wrong ways to write. However, I also know that readers, editors, publishers, and agents have strong preferences, and so if you are writing for anyone other than yourself, you are going to need to learn what these are.
Are you ready to get started?
If you are staring at a blank page and wondering where to begin, here is a process to get you started.
If you’ve already got plenty of words but are looking to improve, here is writing advice arranged by topic.
Well, that’s that then.
Wait… you’re still here? Either you are one of those people who compulsively have to read something to the end, or you’re so paralysed with fear and indecision that you’re not sure what you want to do.
I get it.
You’re scared that you’re crap and wasting your time and people are going to laugh at you and all that stuff.
If that’s you, don’t click anything. Instead, take a moment to look at this gif. Let your breath rise and fall in time with its rhythm and while you do let that little voice inside you say: I’m scared. I’m feeling scared and anxious and it’s ok. I’m scared of failing but I am forgetting that every book starts somewhere. It starts with rambling, and poorly worded sentences, and getting stuck. That is what writing is like, even for experienced authors who have been published and know what they’re doing. I’m so scared that I know this but can’t quite believe it. So I’m going to make a cup of tea, switch off my phone and the internet, and I’m going to put down some words. If I can’t think of anything to write about, I’m going to shut my eyes and describe the first thing that pops into my head. I’m going to write how about what it looks like, how it feels, tastes, and smells. I’m going to write about where I’ve seen it and what I was doing at the time. I’m going to write down the name of some of my favourite books and why I loved them so much. I’m not going to worry about whether the words come out right, because the point of this is to exercise those parts of my brain that I use to put down words on paper, and just putting down the words is a step forward. And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll learn something about what’s going on in my head and what writing means to me.
Creativity takes courage.
Now go and write!
Thank you for dropping by and feel free to leave a comment if any of this was helpful to you.