I’m learning every day but I still have things that work for me and things that don’t.
HERE ARE MY TOP TEN TIPS
- I try to write something every single day - it keeps the continuity of my novel flowing and things stay fresh in my head. Even if it’s only a few scribbled notes or a bit of rough planning, it really helps.
- I now accept that there will be days when nothing comes to me. I might even know exactly what I want to be writing, and where the plot is going, but the words won’t come. I take these days with a pinch of salt now - they don’t phase me like they used to because I know that a good day will be just around the corner.
- When the good days do come, I make the most of them and try to get as many words written as I possibly can. I know I’ll always go back and edit heavily but just getting them out there feels so good. When I look back on a day of 4,000 words I feel proud and know that I’m one step closer to my ultimate goal.
- I expect to hate my work as much as I love it. It’s the bane of an Indie’s life - we never truly believe in ourselves. There are days when I look over past work or my toils of the day and I think ‘Who am I kidding?’ That’s when I have to remind myself that I had an agent who had faith in me and publishers who expressed interest. But the biggest incentive now is the people who have independently bought my debut novel and loved it. They want a sequel, so I must be doing something right.
- Making friends on Twitter has been my saving grace. Years ago, writing was probably one of the loneliest professions in the world - the writer, their mind and their notebook! Now I tap happily away at my laptop and, when I want to have a moan or ask for a piece of advice, I know that at the click of a button I can contact fellow Indie writers like Michelle Betham. In the writing community true friendships can be made on Twitter and I believe they are invaluable. I think I’m right in saying that there have been many days that Michelle and I have saved one another from the brink! Find your writing buddy and you need never feel alone again.
- As an Indie I’ve accepted that I will always feel guilty about how I should prioritise my time. Should I be writing? Should I be promoting? I’m now totally guided by whether or not it feels like a day when things will flow. If my characters have started telling me what they want me to do with them, then I don’t turn my back on them to promote. Similarly, on the days the book has gone into ‘sleep mode’ I do everything to secure guest blogspots and reviews.
- I know that I can never edit and proof read enough. We uploaded the diary to Amazon and it must have been read over a hundred times by various people but there were still a few mistakes that my lovely Aussie sister-in-law picked up on. They’ve now been amended but … shame on me! I won’t let that happen again.
- Just last week I’d got myself totally caught in a trap - I knew where the plot was heading but my brain wouldn’t kick into gear to join the dots. I took a tip from a writer’s website (apologies but I can’t remember who. I know that’s really bad but I read SO many every day) and I wrote the key scenes that I’d mapped out and then filled the gaps. Initially, I thought this would confuse the hell out of me but it actually made the book fly - before I knew it, the block had been lifted and I couldn’t type quickly enough to get my words out.
- Reading my work out loud (and getting someone else to do it) really helps to see if it flows - especially dialogue. Sometimes I might know exactly what the meaning of a sentence is but, when my husband reads it out loud, it sounds totally different. That’s when it’s time for an argument and a re-write!
- I’m now proud to call myself a writer. OK, I’ve not been signed and I haven’t made millions but I have earned money from doing what I love. As my nephew said, “Many people talk of writing a book, few actually do it.” Well, I’ve done it and I slog at it every day with a sequel almost ready to go - I think that makes me a writer!
PS: Expect to drink lots of coffee, smoke lots of cigarettes (if you’re a smoker!) and have many temper tantrums.
OTHER TOOLS REQUIRED: A patient ‘other half,’ your own 'Michelle', lots of chocolate and loyal fans who spur you on!
Why not support a new writer and give my debut novel a go? ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit'* is available on Amazon for a little over the price of a coffee but with a whole lot more laughs! Now also available in paperback at Lulu.
* replace with '.com' for USA/Asia and for a sneak preview