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Want To Write A Novel? Here Are 7 Tips To Get Started

Here are seven things to remember on your writing journey.

Do you have a way with words or an idea that you haven’t seen written yet? Do you have a need for people to hear your voice or do you want to share your ideas with the world? Perhaps you don’t see characters in the books your read that resemble you, and you want to change that.

If this is you, if you’ve set out to write your first novel, welcome to the club. My journey started five years ago, but at the beginning of this year, I decided to put more energy and time into seeing my work published someday. When I look back on my journey, all the ups and downs I had to face, I think about all the things I wish I knew then that I know now. 

These seven tips can serve as a guide on your journey:

Growth is key

Your initial focus will be to get your story down as fast as possible, so you can get your novel published in the next month, but if it’s your first go at it, I have some news for you. You will spend most of your time as you write growing, bettering yourself, and enhancing your knowledge. 

You may not string together lovely sentences off the bat or you may construct a plot that's filled with a dozen plot holes, but you must understand that you have to start somewhere. All the literary geniuses failed at some point but learning from their failures kept them going. 

Self-doubt is natural

You’ll get the feeling more often than not that your work isn’t up to the high standard you set for yourself. Or that it doesn’t meet the standard of the books that are currently sitting on your bookshelf. You only feel this way because you wrote that story and those are your words on that page. You’re looking at your own work and you scrutinize it heavily because self-doubt is a hungry beast that feeds on your fears. 

The only way to fight this beast is to stare it in the eyes and affirm that everything you create may not be perfect to you but it can be perfect for someone else. 

Respect time

Don’t rush the process; racing your way through a draft because you’re treating time as your enemy will not work out for you. This will only result in a burnout that’ll leave you unable to write for days. Instead, understand that it will take a while especially when it comes to recognition, but in time, you’ll have all that you desire.

Put yourself out there

Declare every day that you are a writer and aim at telling the world that. Advertise your passion solely to motivate yourself. Find opportunities that allow you to hone your skills. Participate in competitions and contests even if you don’t think you'll win. What matters is that people are reading your work and you’re learning from all your successes and failures. 

Be humble

Yes, you can string swoon-worthy sentences together so well, but don’t adopt an attitude where you think you’re better than other writers. Believe me, the world will knock you down a peg. 

Looking at other writers as your competition is not advised either. They may have written their entire novel in two weeks and maybe you can do better, but it’s not a race. You could still be set behind or they could be set behind. Learn from that writer and build upon your skill. 

Read and read some more

I don’t have to say much except that what you read will open up your mind more than you think. It’ll allow the river of words to flow in your mind when you’re writing and serve as inspiration. 

Do it alone until you don’t have to

Being a writer is a lonely profession. You spend most of your time isolated from others. You hone your skills in isolation and build your career the same way. When you first start out, no one will be there urging you along. You will find that it gets really quiet and all you want to do is drop your pen or close the lid of your computer because you see no point.

The point is, after all that isolation, you don’t know what will come. Maybe the support system you heard others have – editors, proofreaders, beta and alpha readers and critique partners – will find their way to you if you just don’t give up.

Writing a whole novel doesn't happen overnight. It takes a tremendous amount of determination and at times the right environment to complete. But it is possible and these tips can help you on your journey. 

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