I’m not someone who believes in the classic “writing rules” nor am I one to give writing advice often, but I thought it might helpful to share some of my own writing tips after being an indie author for 10+ years. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful!
Make time to write. The most important thing to do when you want to write a book is to set aside the time to do it. This really is one of the most important things to remember when writing – in order to finish a book, you have to sit down and actually write. Don’t worry though! It’s not as daunting as it sounds. It doesn’t have to be 3 hours every day. It can be an hour here, another hour there. You’d be surprised how much writing you can get done in one focused hour. Before you know it, your story’s done!
Don’t worry about writing rules. Especially for the first draft. If you hope to have your book represented by a big publisher, you will probably want to follow certain guidelines depending on your book’s genre, but when you’re first getting the story written, it’s more important to enjoy what you’re writing and focus on completing it. If you’re planning to self-publish, the rules matter less and you can focus more on writing an authentic story you’ll be proud to represent.
Switch things up. If you get a sudden great new story idea while you’re writing another one, there’s nothing wrong with working on two projects at once. Some writers swear by the rule of only working on one book at one time, but I’ve honestly written a couple of different books at once and I find it really fun. Sometimes you’re more in the mood for one book depending on the day and it will keep you motivated to write. Writing, in the end, should be about having fun. Some people would call this “Going with the flow.” 🙂
Don’t stress about quality for the first draft. The first draft of any book is almost always going to be a rough mess (Some writers even harshly call it sh!t). Don’t concern yourself with the first draft’s quality (or lack thereof). The main thing is to get the story down first so you have something to edit and rework later.
Editing is your friend. I honestly enjoy editing as much as the first draft process. It can be a lot of fun. I know some people dread the editing phase, but it’s the part where you get to go over what you’ve already written and fine-tune it. You can take out parts you don’t like, add more depth to the characters and create more scene building, intensify certain moments, and even develop weaker parts or characters that can become more relevant to the book. It can be a blast when you have a great playlist while you’re doing it. Editing can be one of the best parts of the writing process if you look at it from the right angle. 🙂
Music matters. Listening to the right music can do wonders for your writing process. I say listen to whatever inspires you/motivates you at the time. It can be music that mirrors the mood of your story or simply music that helps you focus. Some writers prefer complete silence, because music distracts them too much. Regardless of who you are, the right sounds (or no sounds) can make or break your writing session. Choose wisely.
It’s your story. Above all, it’s your work. Beta readers and editors can be helpful and offer feedback/insights that can help you grow as an author. In the end it’s up to you what you want to keep in your story. I’ve had editors tell me to erase parts that meant a lot to me and it didn’t feel right. Of course, it matters what readers think, because we want people to enjoy our stories, but in the end we need to make sure we’re publishing the story that’s true to what we want it to be.
Read books. Not only are books inspiring for your own writing, you can see how other authors describe things, build tension, etc. You’ll develop your own unique style as you write, though having other writers to gain inspiration from is helpful. If you’re planning to publish traditionally in a certain genre then it’s a good idea to read books in that category. With all that being said, it’s nice just to read for the fun of it. Reading another author’s story can be a nice mental break from your own work.
I hope you enjoyed my writing tips. This is all just my opinion and these tips are not meant to be a guideline by any means. You’ll end up finding what works best for you – some of these might really speak to you while others won’t work for you at all. If you found any of them useful, please let me know in the comments below. 🙂 I’d love to hear your feedback.