Monday, 7 January 2013

Take Note

Happy New Year

Now that the last mince pie has been eaten and we're trying to squeeze all that extra re-cycling into the bursting wheelie bin, it's time for getting into that writing routine again. Some of you will have my unstinting admiration for having written every day throughout the festivities, but although I've snatched the odd twenty minutes to read, I've not written - and I've missed it sorely! It was only when a friend asked me how much I'd managed to write over Christmas, that I realised I hadn't followed one of the basic rules I'd learnt when I first started out as a writer. That is to write every day.

We all have to start somewhere when we decide to become a writer. We're not born with the know-how so we must search for it. I'm fairly new to writing, having woken up one morning seven years ago with the idea for a book. I love deciding the fate of my characters and knowing it's me who can save them. They become my friends as if they were real people and I care what happens to them. It's me who can help them out of their difficulties and lead them to an achievement or to someone special. If I were to have one regret in life, it'd be that I didn't discover my passion earlier.

So back to some basic rules, or should I call them helpful hints? I've tried to learn as much as I can about writing techniques through reading 'how to' books, searching the internet, attending workshops and master classes, buying monthly writing magazines, joining a writing group and of course, reading other people's books. There are always a handful of tips which I read time and time again which I thought I'd highlight to all new writers.

Writing can be a lonely pastime. Develop a circle of writer-friends who can encourage you when you're struggling and celebrate with you when you're on a roll. Whether it's a local writing group or joining twitter and facebook, a network of friends can be invaluable at those moments when you doubt your ability.

Read. Keep up with latest trends and developments or your writing could begin to sound dated. By reading, you see what's selling. By understanding market awareness, you could sway a commissioning editor's opinion in your favour.

Keep feeding your imagination. Go for a walk, visit a gallery, sit in a cafe and people-watch or visit somewhere for the first time. Don't just see the day - smell it, listen to it and touch it. Look for inspiration and stock up on creative ideas.

Find time to write every day. Modern life pulls us in all directions but if we truly want to become a successful writer, we need to give ourselves time. Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, find a time that suits you and your family and make it your writing time. Forget the pile of ironing. If one thing is certain - it'll still be there waiting for you after you've finished a chapter! John Braine wrote Room At The Top from his hospital bed on a busy ward so unless both arms are in a sling, even 100 words will keep the grey cells working and the fingers flexible on those keys!

Keep a notebook and pen to hand. How many times have you thought of a perfect sentence, book title, idea or name whilst driving or lying in bed, only to later rack your brain for the forgotten information?

If you have any tips which help you and you'd like to share them, I'm all ears!! I hope you all find writing success in 2013.