NEED reassurance for November’s National Novel Writing Month? Tips from Chapter after Chapter will boost your confidence and help you find the stamina to complete that novel you’ve been working on.
In just over a week, November will be here. It’s the month where people aspiring to be authors link up at http://www.nanowrimo.org/, with the intention of writing a novel of some 50,000 words.
For many of us the question isn’t whether we can finish our novel in a month or so, the question is: Can we EVER complete a novel? Period.
Heather Sellers, author of Page after Page and Chapter after Chapter, and an English professor at Hope College in Holland, Mich., believes we can. She encourages, exhorts and lays out instructions to streamline the process for timid or unsure authors such as myself.
Here are 13 tips to boost your writing confidence and proficiency.
1. Write things down. Put words on paper. “Writers write things down.” (Never trust those great ideas of yours to memory.)
2. Set time aside. “There are limits to what you can do in your real life if you want to be a dedicated book writer.” A regular writing routine is a plus.
3. To build on that point. … Give your writing project a significant place in your life and time. “Elevate your writing-life commitment to the level of high importance. No one else is going to do it for you.”
4. Practice. “If you’re not good at making time to sit down and write every day, give yourself a month to learn how to do just that.” It takes some doing in our busy lives, but it’s worth the effort.
5. Try, try again. “There are three magic words when you’re writing a book. Keep starting again.” Don’t let discouragement bring your writing dream to a total halt.
6. Learn writing by writing. “A book project, like a good teacher, gives you a reason, a focus, a motivation that keeps you from getting lost in your head, lost in the pages, lost in serial restarting.”
7. When you’re not typing your opus, plan. To get to the finish line, you must know where you’re going. A footnote: “Writing a book is very much like going on a long trip abroad. You leave the world as you know it.”
8. “Just as children collect their books and lay out their gear the night before school to make the next day’s start a little easier, purposeful book authors also lay out their things, mentally and physically, preparing for the next writing day.”
9. “Writing a book is exactly like traveling to a country you don’t know well. What do you do in bed in a new country before falling asleep? Look at maps. Orient yourself. So, each night, before you go to bed, plant a giant YOU ARE HERE sign in your manuscript and look down the road to see where you might go tomorrow.”
10. Keep in mind: “A good writing session has much to do with the previous writing session and the period in-between.”
11. Don’t worry about being gifted enough. “Talent is desire.”
12. Figure out how to make your writing fun—something you want to do. “Here is a secret to writing a book. Find a way to keep your desire alive and pure.”
13. Be your own best fan. “There’s a part of you (maybe dormant, but it’s there) that is a goofy, hyperactive, wildly enthusiastic cheerleader. Sometimes you have to call on her: You can do it! You want it! Go, Author!”
Of course, Heather’s 13 tips are just some of the excellent suggestions you can glean in Chapter after Chapter if you’re like me and planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month.
If you simply have an idea for a novel you’d like to try, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you’re working on or the story you’ve always dreamed of writing.
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