1. Enrol in a writing class – or at least join a writers’ group. A class will give you theory, discipline, feedback, industry savvy and encouragement.
2. Plan. Yes, some writers write by the ‘seat of their pants’ without a plan, and if that works for you, good luck and I’ll shut up. I bet it won’t. I bet you’ll get stuck about 25,000 words in, or later you’ll find you’ve written an unstructured mess. If that happens, go back and write a synopsis, then a chapter-by-chapter summary. Then start writing again with confidence you know where you’re going.
3. Write for publication. With everything you write (or almost everything) , think of where it could be published, and aim to submit it. It will encourage you to do your best, to screw up the printed manuscript you were going to send, and make it that bit better.
4. Write some short stories. They’re great for experimenting without committing a year and if you submit them for publication, you’ll get feedback and possibly a good line to add to your cv, enquiry letter, novel submission.
5. Re-write. Put your work aside, come back to it a couple of weeks later. Repeat several times. You can always make it better.
Graeme is the author of, The Rosie Project (published in paperback by Penguin, £7.99.) It’s also the book we’re currently featuring in our online book club, Book Corner.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.