Everyone thinks they have a novel inside them, but very few people actually turn their dream into reality. Creating an entire book out of nothing but your own imagination is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Writing your novel alone is a monumental task, not to mention the challenge of getting it accepted by a publisher.
But nothing good in life ever comes easy, and as long as you are committed to your goal and willing to put the effort in, then there is no reason why you can’t succeed.
If you see yourself as a budding author and want to write professionally, here are five tips for starting your first novel.
Set aside time to write
Creating a book from scratch takes time, and you need to carve out some space in your schedule in order to put the hours in. If you just tell yourself you’ll work on your novel whenever you get a spare moment, it will never happen. You need to book your writing sessions into your calendar, just like you would an important meeting or a social occasion. This gives you more accountability and makes it far more likely that you will keep working on your goals.
Don’t expect instant success
The sad truth is, no matter how good your idea is, you won’t become a success overnight. You could have the entire plot planned out in your mind, but transcribing this into a legible, entertaining novel is not a simple job. You will have days where the words flow out of you like water, and on others, you won’t be able to string a single sentence together. You need to remember to be patient, and let the magic happen gradually.
Let your thoughts flow freely
Your imagination is a powerful tool, and you shouldn’t restrict it. One of the most effective writing exercises is to just let your mind relax and allow the words to flow freely onto the paper. Whatever comes to mind, no matter how inarticulate or nonsensical. This technique is known as free writing, and many authors use it to lift the filter between your mind and your writing hand. It’s a bit like stretching before a long run, as it warms up your creative abilities and sets you up for the real writing ahead.
Plan your novel
When most writers create a novel, they rarely begin on page one and continue with the narrative until the end. There is a lot of planning involved, working out individual chapters, scenes, and characters and fitting them all together in a cohesive order. Spend some time working out the structure of your novel before you begin, and it will help you see the bigger picture. Use this novel planner template to help you.
Many people start writing a novel and spend a few days obsessively working at it before other commitments and distractions pop up and they forget all about it. To ensure you remain motivated and driven, you should set yourself firm targets. Prolific author Stephen King recommends writing at least 2000 words a day to avoid becoming complacent and ineffective. Pick a target that is achievable, yet challenging, and make sure you hit this goal consistently.
Image Credits: Steve Johnson