Do you have an idea for a novel that you’ve been dying to write? Or perhaps you’ve been working on one for a while but never quite finished it? I’m here to say: you can do it! Here are my five essential tips to help you write your book this year.

This article will cover:

Finding a writing environment that works for you

How to set goals and stick to them

Why you shouldn’t skip the planning stage

How constructive feedback can help you

Why reading is key

1. Get in the writing zone

First and foremost: you’re going to need a comfortable spot where you can write. If silence is your jam, you might like to set up a cosy corner at home or surround yourself with bookish vibes at the local library. If you find a bit of background noise helps you to focus, try your favourite café (if they have good cake, that’s a plus!). Once you’re settled, switch off notifications on your phone and other tech. Without these distractions you can fully immerse yourself in the world of your book and get into your flow.

2. Set achievable goals

The idea of writing a full-length novel of thousands of words probably feels quite daunting, right? As with any large task, dividing it up into manageable chunks will help you to stay focused and motivated. Setting daily achievable goals will also develop a consistent writing habit, which is key for making steady progress. Some writers swear by setting a daily word count, be that 500 words, 1,000 words or more, while others prefer to tackle a scene at a time. Find what works for you and keep going.

3. Make a plan

It is often said that writers fall into two camps: planners, who like to write a detailed outline before they start writing, and “pantsers”, who prefer to dive in and make it up along the way. In reality, most writers are probably a bit of both. Having some sort of outline down in writing will provide you with structure and direction for your narrative. Your plan could include some or all the following: a brief bullet-point list of the main plot points, character sheets, world-building descriptions, a list of any key themes. If the dreaded writer’s block strikes, you will have these resources on hand to get you back on track. Remember: you don’t have to stick rigidly to your plan. If inspiration strikes and things take a different turn, that’s okay too!

4. You don’t have to do this alone

Writing can feel like a lonely old pursuit. There’s no getting round it: at some point you do have to sit down by yourself and get some words on the page. But you don’t have to complete the whole journey alone. In fact, sharing your work with others – whether that be friends or fellow writers – and getting their feedback and fresh insights can be hugely beneficial. Joining an online or in-person writing group can give you that much-needed sense of community and a place to share ideas and cheer each other on. Learning how to handle and implement feedback will also help you to grow as a writer and prepare you for when the time comes to start sharing your finished book with editors and agents.

5. Keep reading

Just like Strictly Come Dancing dancers have to keeeeeeep dancing, writers have to keeeeeeeep… reading. Read as much as you can and read widely. Reading different writing styles and genres will provide inspiration and expand your vocabulary. Reading writing theory books will inform your writing craft. Most importantly, read analytically: think about what grabs your attention as a reader, what makes you keep coming back to a book for more.

Summing up

Sitting down to write a book can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With these strategies, a supportive community and plenty of determination (and cake!), you can do it. You might even have some fun along the way. I can’t wait to find out what you will write in 2024. Good luck!

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