One thing that still amazes me is that I wrote a novel. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn, but even now as an author, the thought of writing a novel seems daunting. It’s time consuming and a huge commitment, yet somehow I wrote The Wrong Side of Twenty-Five in three months. I finished the novel last October, although it wasn’t ready for submission until last month and I will get to why in a moment.
I don’t have the experience or authority to tell you how to write a great novel. But if you want to start writing a novel and actually finish it, here are my top 5 tips.
- Don’t overthink it, just write. When I started writing my novel, it was originally going to be a short story. Personally, it helped that I didn’t put myself under pressure of telling myself that I needed to stretch this bit of writing to 75 thousand words.
- Get in to the routine of writing every day. Dedicate an hour or even just half an hour out of your day to write. Try to be consistent. I wrote at 10pm every night. It was good for me because I’m a night owl, but go with whatever works for you.
- Jot down a timeline of the events in your novel. It doesn’t have to be finite, but it will give you direction. It will be easier to get stuck in to writing if you’ve spent the day knowing and thinking about what you’re going to write about. You’ll start doing your research on topics in your story without even realising.
- If there’s a reason you can’t write, make notes anyway. The next time you do write, even if you’ve gone a few days without writing, you’ll have a clear idea of what to do.
- Don’t go over your writing while you are still writing. Write and don’t look back!
There’s no better feeling than typing ‘The End’. Maybe you’ll want to celebrate. Do celebrate, you’ve earned it! Perhaps you’ll want to give it to your friend for them to read. Don’t. And don’t read it yourself just yet either. Leave it a month, or as long as you can stand, and then take a peek. It will need editing. Edit it yourself until you can’t stand to look at it anymore, and then try and get someone else to help. After a while you stop seeing your own mistakes and it’s good to get a new pair of eyes on it. This is where I break it to you that writing the damn novel is the easiest part. Editing is a slog. It’s truly exhausting, but necessary. If I had submitted the first draft of my novel last year, it wouldn’t have been looked at past the first paragraph. Instead, I took the time to shape it in to a novel worth publishing. If I can do it, anyone can. Happy writing!
PS: What tips do you have for finishing a novel?