Writing Tips for Authors

Get away from the internet when you are ready to sit down and write. There are too many distractions out there. Get yourself a cup of tea, or whatever strikes your fancy, and turn everything else off. Your writing time is for you only. No internet, no phone, no spouse, no kids, no dogs, nothing. If you have to go sit in your car for some peace and quiet, then do that. Do whatever it takes to get it done. No excuses.


Read everything you can. I hear authors all the time that say they don't have time to read. Yes you do. It is an important part of your job as an author to read the works of others. Read many different authors. Read books written in first person, third person, alternating POVs, etc. You need to read a diversity of works to make your own work better.


Don't write for your audience, write for yourself. Your audience will follow. If you spend your time writing books a certain way because you think people will like them that way, you might succeed, but you won't be authentic to yourself. Write the type of things that you like to read. You will be a better writer that way.


Carry a notebook with you always. Write down anything that pops into your head. Short term memory is just that, short term. You may come up with a great idea while out walking your dog and completely forget what it is when you return. If you can't carry a notebook, jot it down somewhere in your phone. I often email notes to myself, so they are sitting there on my computer when I return.


Get some beta readers. Before you publish it, send your completed novel out to a few trusted friends that don't have a problem telling you exactly what is wrong with it. People that will just tell you how great it is, are not helpful at all. There will always be some room for improvement and you need people that will tell you what that is.


Learn to take criticism. The fact is that you can't please everyone. No matter how wonderful your novel is, there will always be someone that hates it. Even the top selling authors of all time have people that can't stand their work. You will get bad reviews. You will get people criticizing your work. Try to learn from it and move on.


Stop talking about it and just sit down and get on with writing. Are you one of those people that has been talking about the novel you are going to write for years? Do all of your relatives roll their eyes now whenever you bring up the subject? Stop talking about your book immediately. Just get on with it.


Get a great editor. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Sure, maybe you are really good at grammar and punctuation and all that other stuff. But, after working for months on your novel and rereading it a dozen times, you will miss very important mistakes in your book. It can't be helped. Even authors that also work as editors hire someone else to edit their own books. You will get bad reviews if your book is not edited by someone that knows what they are doing.


Turn off your internal editor. Try not to edit while creating your first draft. Your book will take forever to finish if you spend your time editing while you write. Don't worry about that part during your first draft. Just write. The first draft of anything is rubbish anyhow. You can fix all the grammar mistakes and plot holes when you do your rewrite.


Try to write for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Write as if you are on a deadline every day. It is too easy for indie authors to skip a day or a month here and there and before you know it, your novel is taking years to write. If you are a busy person, like most of us are, carve out just 30 minutes every day to write. It will get done before you know it. If you write roughly 500 words in 30 minutes, then you can get your first draft written in about 7 months (for a 100,000 word novel). Throw in a few sessions of a couple of hours here and there, and you can get it done a lot faster.


Keep your writing tight by avoiding wordiness. Don't write four pages on what the room looks like, unless it is an integral part of the book. Make your words count by keeping it interesting and always moving your plot forward. There is one extremely famous author out there (I'm not naming names) that I just can't read because of the wordiness. I catch myself skipping pages because of all the detail that is not necessary to the story. I'm sure I'm not the only one that hates books like that.



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