The other day a friend (and dare I say it, a much more skilful aspiring author) generously and thoughtfully gave me a gift out-of-the-blue.
Fiona McIntosh’s How to Write a Blockbuster.
(He was also responsible for introducing me to her writing which is fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend The French Promise and The Lavender Keeper. The novels are follow-on, but can also be read as stand-alone stories… but why would you?)
In the first chapter she encourages you to get serious writing.
- If you want to be published, you have to get serious about it.
- So your primary goal when you set out is to finish the manuscript. Learn to be consistent in completing what you start.
As I wrote about earlier the difference between a successful author is hard work (and opportunity).
Novelists who earn a good living from their books do not give themselves excuses. I wrote my first manuscript as a married mum with twin sons at junior primary while running a business with my husband; I did all my writing late at night while the house slept. The only person who missed out on anything in our household was me – I missed out on sleep and social events. But I did so because once I’d decided I was going to write my first novel, I became entirely committed to finishing the first draft.
- Get your family ‘on side’. Work out a routine that works for you and your family. Don’t steal time from your family. They need you – and you need them. (See also this good post about writing and having children).
- Give up television and the internet. It doesn’t mean you have to give it up entirely, but be very, very selective and strict in what you allow yourself. Set tight limits and stick to them.
- Make sacrifices in your social life.
- Be honest about when you’re working on your novel. Set up rigid boundaries; they are required to keep your writing time free from other things.
- Respect your own working hours. When you’re working, work; ignore distractions.
While it’s okay at the beginning for everyone else to think of your writing as a hobby, you must think of yourself as a writer. It’s important to embrace the notion and approach it professionally…