Writing a novel can seem like having to climb a mountain when you can’t even see the peak – and this is why a lot of writers will start novels that they never finish, or self publish books that they aren’t as happy with as they could have been. If you’ve had a few false starts writing novels, use these tips to make yourself a better and faster writer.
Read Outside Your Genre
Writers have to read a lot if they want to have a shot at being a good writer at all. Reading gives you the chance to analyze the work of others, get to know the flow, get to know what makes strong characters and a good plot – and where you’ve read a book that you didn’t like, you can know how you don’t want yours to look when you’re done.
It helps to read, and it helps to read everything out there that you can find. Read things outside the genre that you normally read and get to know the work of writers you’ve never heard of. All of this increases your scope, and all of this can make you a better creator.
Subscribe to Newspapers
Remember how your parents used to start every day by reading the newspaper? You should do the same. Reading newspapers might be a little different to reading fiction, but both can help you to generate ideas. Subscribe to a few local newspapers or choose variety and go for international ones that you’ve never heard of. For example, a UK-based company called Reedsy has possibly some of the best resources for how to write a novel.
Read them every day – and when you find something good, you’ll know it.
Change Your Environment
If you find yourself blocked, it could be environmental factors causing it. Some writers work better in a quiet environment while others need some essential background noise to get into the right mind to work. There’s nothing wrong with needing a specific environment to write: Where you’re a writer who feels like this, start by creating your environment to fit, or moving your laptop or notebook to an environment where you feel comfortable to create.
Write Every Day
For anyone who wants to be a serious published writer, writing should become something that’s part of every day. Even if you only think of outlines for one day or write 600 words on the next, it’s still something – and it still contributes to your writing career as a whole. Write and write regularly, schedule your writing time if you don’t have a lot of time during the day to do it – and make sure that you stick to the writing routine.
Take Regular Breaks
All work and no play turns into that scene in the Shining. Writing is a lot of hard work, but it also helps to take a break every once in a while. It’s good for your health to get up and stretch, and it’s just as great for your mental health. When you feel block, stuck or exhausted, take a ten minute break and step away from the keyboard for a while. By the time you get back, you’ll feel a lot better, and creativity should flow again.
Get to Know Language
Any writer should get to know the language they are working with as intimately as possible. If you don’t, your story can seem hollow, your writing can seem bad and your readers can feel underestimated. Get to know language and its nuances, and bookmark useful resources like synonym finders that are able to help you out of a tight spot.
Schedule “Idea Time”
Schedule regular idea time at least once or twice a week: Use this hour (or ten minutes if that’s the time you have available) to come up with ideas and plot points for stories. Doing this regularly can help you to exercise generating ideas – and eventually, it becomes easier.