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Friday, 9 June 2017

My Advice For Aspiring Writers
















As a writer, you often get asked for your top writing tips. I’ve compiled the ones I’ve given out so far in one handy list:

·         Search for information online 
                                                                       

There’s so much advice readily available for writers! I spent a lot of time online searching for tips and ‘How To’ books, and I attended some workshops which were really useful.


·         Get social media savvy     
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I find social media a Godsend. It’s an amazing source of support that I would advise writers to tap in to because writing can feel a lonely process at times, particularly when you’re first starting out.


·         Join a writing group
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This can be beneficial as gaining feedback is invaluable. I would say, however, that you might receive a lot of differing advice, so in the end it’s about learning what will work for you and what won’t – I think there’s an element of trial and error here!


·         DO NOT rush to submit your work to agents
    
        


It’s so exciting to have finished a novel, so much so that it can be hard to hold back! But agents receive so many submission packages you don’t want to give them an easy reason to reject yours. Make sure you read the individual agent’s requirements, have a strong covering letter, a succinct synopsis to the length they ask, and make sure your opening chapters are polished, polished, polished! I DID send my work too early and received a number of rejections quite quickly. Then I was lucky enough to have my work edited by a newly qualified editor and afterwards I began getting requests for my full manuscript. It can be costly, but personally I think it’s worth it.


·         Enter competitions
         
    

I entered my opening chapters of Saving Sophie (then titled Portrayal) into the CWA Debut Dagger award and was longlisted. It was an amazing feeling to have my work recognised. Being placed in a competition validates you as a writer and gives a huge boost to your confidence. Even though my agent was already interested in my writing, I believe that being able to tell her I’d been longlisted was a factor in her decision to sign me.


·         Learn the art of patience
         
   


You’ll need a lot of it (although I’ve yet to master this myself!)

           
·         Learn to take constructive criticism
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But also know that a dozen people could read your MS and each one of them might suggest a different way to ‘improve’ it. You have to try and be subjective, sit back, think about the comments you’ve been given – if there are similarities, then it’s likely that part of your MS is an issue that needs reworking. But DO NOT change your MS after each and every bit of feedback. You’ll end up in a mess. If you can, get a professional editor, or use a manuscript assessment service. I was lucky to have an editor who had just qualified and was taking on work in order to gain experience. I realise this was great timing – and a lot of people won’t get such good luck. But money spent at this stage could prevent a lot of heartache later down the line when the rejections roll in!


·         Tell yourself every day that you are a writer 
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Act like one, and you will be one! Grit, determination and self-belief are key.


·         Get organised and make time to write
   


Although I’m giving this tip – I am the world’s worst and need to heed my own advice. When people ask ‘So, you write full time then?’ and I answer ‘yes’, I’m sure they think that I do nothing other than sit at my keyboard and hammer out page after page of a novel. But there is so much more to being a writer than that. You might like to visit a blog piece I wrote on fitting everything in: (HERE) The key, I think, is to have a schedule that fits around your everyday life – and do your best to stick to it!


·         Don’t forget to eat properly, drink and exercise!
        
  


I have been known to get to 4pm and realise I have only consumed coffee and chocolate bars. Add the sedentary lifestyle of sitting for hours at your desk, and you have a very unhealthy writer! Take regular breaks.


·         Write what you love to read
        

 Coming up with around 90,000 words will be far easier if you are enjoying it. Your readers will be able to tell if you are bored, and they will be too. Skip the boring parts.



Above all – ENJOY WRITING AND NEVER GIVE UP! 


You can purchase SAVING SOPHIE on Amazon from
UK - Here
USA - Here
CANADA - Here



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