Lockdown may be easing (we hope), but for many the COVID pandemic has made us rethink our priorities and, especially for those who’ve had more time due to furlough or change of circumstance, it has given us an opportunity to get creative.
Writing a novel consistently tops the list of unrealised ambitions, alongside losing weight and drinking less. So how about realising your dream of writing that book?
I’ll be completely honest. Despite my headline, I can’t guarantee you a bestseller. But I can help give you the best shot at it.
Over to you. To help get you inspired, here are five book-writing tips based on the approach of famous authors.
1. Location, location
Find the right place to work. Unfortunately, you can’t opt for a bustling café, like JK Rowling penning Harry Potter but you can be creative within your home. You may prefer a quiet desk with a garden view or take inspiration from Roald Dahl who retreated to his shed at the end of the garden. Truman Capote, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, wrote sitting up in bed. You don’t even have to move for that one.
Studies have shown that each of us has an optimal working position, so if sitting at the same old desk isn’t doing it for you, try something new to stimulate your imagination.
2. Night-owl or 9-to-5?
Have a routine and stick with it. This might be a pre-dawn start, getting your writing done by lunch, favoured by the likes of Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway. Or setting yourself a daily target. Stephen King aims for six pages a day.
3. Go off-line
Smartphones, emails, social media. It’s a wonder we have any time to think. Remove yourself from the distractions of modern life, even if only for set periods of time. If that doesn’t work you could always go to the extreme of Pulitzer-Prize-winner Jonathan Franzen, who literally cuts his internet cable when he starts a novel. I admit that might be a bit extreme when most of us are reliant on the internet to communicate with our loved ones at the moment.
4. Immerse yourself in books
Stephen King said: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time – or the tools – to write. Simple as that.” Absorbing all the literature you can, can only enhance your own writing skills. Look for inspiration, ideas and technique. There are some wonderful free offers out there to encourage reading and listening to audiobooks in the lockdown – from the authors themselves, local libraries’ digital services and the big players such as Audible.
5. Get some help!
Not all of us are born writers. Don’t be afraid to get some help. And that’s where we come in.
If you have a great life story or some original business or self-help ideas, the Editing Edge ghostwriting service can transform your research, blogs or even training-course notes into a book.
Perhaps you’ve written some short stories or a novel and are about to send your work to an agent or publisher. Before you do, Editing Edge can ensure it reads easily and is free from embarrassing errors. We can correct typos and grammar, offer a literary opinion, point out any problems of coherence or clarity and may have suggestions about plot, characters and style.
Time to realise your dream and get writing. Please get in touch if you want any help or guidance.