You’re finally going to do it: you’re going to write a novel. So many people are out there doing what they want to, becoming a personal development author or writing memoirs about their life spent touring with rock stars. You want to write a novel and live in a world of fiction where you create characters whose needs create a tale that must be told. Whether you’re planning on writing in the genre of YA or mystery, historical fiction or experimental, there are some universal tips you can follow to write any novel. It’s all about knowing how to get inspired, how to motivate yourself, and how to edit the work you create.
So if you’re ready to learn, and write your first novel, here are the tips you want to follow.
Dive into inspiration
Before you start writing every day, and creating a calendar for writing days, and maybe even joining a class, you need to get inspired. There’s nothing like the first few days and weeks of working on a new project when you walk around dreaming up your characters and the setting. If you read books related to your subject–for example, about the French Revolution if you’re writing a historical fiction novel set during that time–then you’ll be diving into inspiration anytime you read them. Surround yourself with things that make you think of your novel, read related books, and have deep conversations about the themes.
Then, build this inspiration into your writing ritual (which we’ll get to in a second). For example, you can create a playlist that pumps you up while writing, with your favorite pop tunes–or if you’re writing horror, put some Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on there. Considering that Apple Music had 40 million paying subscribers as of April 2018, If visuals inspire you, then you can get inspired on the way to your writing ritual place–for example, walking through a park before sitting down at a cafe at the end of it to write.
Create a writing ritual
Now that you know how to get inspired, it’s time to create a writing ritual–and a schedule, too. Creating a ritual is all about figuring out what little habits make you most productive. For example, Ernest Hemingway used to visit museums in Paris before going to the same bar every day and writing. So if there’s a specific spot in a café you work best from, make that your base of operations for writing.
Then you need to schedule your time. In the same way that a part-time tutor schedules certain hours for teaching during the week so they make money, you need to reserve specific times every week for your writing. Otherwise, it won’t happen. Whether you’re waking up at 5 am every day to write before work, or working only on weekends, create a schedule that you can stick to. You can also try out National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where Americans spend all of November writing a full novel.
And if you write at least 50,000 words that month, you can win NaNoWriMo, which will impress many agents and editors.
Edit and workshop
Once you’ve worked on your novel enough, and you suddenly have large parts of it written, it’s time for someone to take a look at it. If you’re brave and super-aware, you can edit it yourself once you’ve finished the whole thing. But most writers need someone to review their work. Even Raymond Carver had an editor who cut down his work; Jane Austen read her writing to her family in the evening after she’d written it. So if these great writers shared their writing with others before publishing it, then you probably should, too.
Luckily, there are lots of resources for anyone looking for writers to look at their work. Look for writing workshops at your local library and coffee shops, and see if there’s a writing center where you can sign up for classes. Additionally, you can find classes online with Stanford University and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Getting an MFA isn’t a bad idea, either. Believe it or not, they’re often fully-funded, which means you’re getting paid to write for 1-3 years, and you’ll get teaching experience, too!
Considering that Amazon’s print sales grew by 15 percent in 2016, getting that book penned and read by the right people could get you published!
These are some of the best ways to make sure you write your novel. It’s all about getting inspired and putting in the work! What other strategies would help you be more productive in this creative pursuit?