Tips for Writing Your First Novel

Writing Your First Novel

By Madi Rodgers, Intern

Writing a novel may seem like the perfect creative outlet but sitting down with your laptop can force you to rethink your ambitions. I started writing my first novel last fall after years of dreaming about the process. After creating a lengthy first draft and beginning the editing process, I couldn’t be prouder of myself. For me, getting started was the hardest part. Running into mistakes and figuring out what writing tools and methods work best for me has been a massive part of the adventure. To help get you started, here are some tips for beginning your writing journey and starting your novel on the path to success.

Write About What Inspires You

Writing the very first words of your new novel is often extremely daunting. Starting at the very first sentence is usually even more challenging. One way to lessen the stress is to begin with the parts that excite you the most. For example, try starting with the biggest action scene, or maybe a key turning point in the plot. The words will come to you more easily and it will make writing your book far more enjoyable!

Develop Your Main Character(s)

Before thinking about the main theme of my book, I began to outline creative characters. Think about interesting personalities, unique features, interactions, or intriguing backstories these characters might possess that could help you develop a story line. What character has the largest involvement with the conflict? With the resolution? Organizing these details in advance will make the writing process easier, while allowing you to remain consistent with the characters you create. Even if you build some characters that don’t make the final cut, this is a fun way to flesh out ideas and inspire yourself to start your big project!

Set Aside Time to Write

Interruptions like work, kids, or social media all disrupt the writing process. Set aside a set amount of time each day to turn off your phone, take a break from the world, and write. Writing will then become ingrained into your daily routine as a tangible goal. As entrepreneur Jim Rohn advised, “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” By setting aside time each day to work towards your goal you are constantly moving in the right direction.

Create Reasonable Goals

When you first set a goal, you are much more motivated to achieve it. When I first started my novel, I would sometimes write thousands of words per-day! This is great progress but can sometimes cause an author to become burnt out or unmotivated. Writing takes a lot of time and effort, so don’t put too much stress on yourself by creating unreasonable goals! You should enjoy the process of writing your novel and remember even if you may feel unmotivated at times, the key to writing is consistency and determination.

Always Edit

The best writers are the best editors. Your first draft is a rough draft, so try not to worry too much about perfecting your sentence structure or grammar. This can significantly slow the development of your story. Don’t let your confidence waiver if you reread your work and it is messy. It is all part of the process, and you need to have confidence in yourself in order to succeed. Although writing a novel is not easy, it is possible, and I wish you the best on your writing journey!

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