I hope that my writing tips will give you pause for thought, help develop your writing or even provide a hint of inspiration. Come back soon to see the next tip.
When I first began to think about writing a novel I knew no one who was published. Living in the middle of nowhere with not a creative writing class in sight, I bought the WRITING MAGAZINE and scoured its pages for information. I went to the library to order books on “How to write a novel” making notes and began a serious course of reading the sort of books I might want to emulate or not. I was working full time and had four children at home.
The best advice I read was “Just do it, stop faffing around and write the story in your head”. With pen and paper I did just that; pages and pages of a torrid romance set among the railway Navvies which when I read now makes my toes curl. But we have to start somewhere. If nothing else it proved I could go the distance of a full length novel, an achievement in itself and none of the research was wasted.
Then someone pointed me in the direction of a little book called “Becoming a Writer” by Dorothea Brande which was a revelation. She advocates daily free writing, recording dreams, letting ideas flow uncensored. This lead to a book by John Braine and others like Natalie Goldberg “Writing Down The Bones” and eventually to a short novel writing course at the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank near Hebden Bridge. Here with the help of tutors, I received that all important positive criticism of my first completed novel.
Today there are myriad of residential writing courses, shelves of “how to” books to read, gurus who will edit and re shape your books for the market place and still there are those who just self publish without the benefit of any editing at all. I can say nothing positive about such a disregard for the sacred craft of writing. What can be taught and what is instinctive will always be up for debate.
I have mentioned many times my respect for Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way series. I love the meditations of Susan Shaughnessy’s : Walking on Alligators. I still return to these when my writing is in the doldrums and I am losing confidence alongside the writing diaries of famous author for re assurance.
You become a writer once you put pen to paper, filling those pages with your poems, stories, ideas but to be a published writer who makes a living it takes time to develop your own unique voice and style.
There are many options open now that weren’t there when I first began my journey but no matter what your route to publication is, taking time to develop your art and craft is the same for every artist. 10, 000 hours, they say… All I know it’s a slog at time to keep improving technique and style, developing your brand name, staying in the market place and there are no guarantees of success.So good luck with your writing journey.