Learn to Write
Steps to Achieve Your Dream to be A Good Writer
1. Set a Daily Target
Work out a target word count and divide it by the number of days. Scrivener is a writing program that does this automatically for you, recalculates on a daily basis and illustrates the statistics for you in an infographic. It even allows you to take weekends off! For example:1000 words a day is a good goal. If you think about it, that’s five average length novels a year!
2. Make It Public
It’s easy to lie to yourself, especially when you come back home after a long day and there’s something good on television. My advice is to announce your goal to the world, be that on social media or on a more personal note, to family and friends. Update your progress as you go, so you’re held accountable if you skip a day or fail to meet your target.
It’s rather like a running marathon. Once you enter a marathon, you have to finish it.
3. Find Beta Readers
For me, this was a very important factor. There is nothing more encouraging than feedback on your work. What is usually a solitary activity, becomes shared, and you look forward to hearing others’ thoughts. It’s a great reward and an affirmation that your story is one people enjoy reading.
I found 'Wattpad' was a great place to find these readers, but family, friends and colleagues can be just as good, even though they maybe a little biased.
4. Don’t Edit
It sounds a little crazy, I know, but hear me out. Getting the words down is far more important, than retouching what you’ve already written. This may, in fact, prove to be a deterrent. A caveat is giving it a quick read through before the beta reader stage, for finding and rectifying only typing errors.
5. Always Make a Start
Inevitably, there will be days where you’re just not in the mood. The solution, at least for me, is to tell yourself that you’re only going to write a few sentences rather than skipping an entire day. Open up the manuscript and start writing. You would be shocked how quickly you are pulled back in and the words mount up. Sometimes I go well above my daily target when starting like this. Even if you don’t, something is better than nothing, right?
6. Try and Finish mid Sentence
This is a trick that has served me well. It’s always easier to continue on a half-finished sentence or scene, allowing you to easily pick up where you left off the previous day. Equally, if I finish a chapter, I always make a start on the next one while the writing juices are flowing. That way, I don’t start my next session staring at a blank page of a new chapter.
7. Plotting is Key
We all write differently; some of us are plotters, some of us are pranksters. But when you’re writing so much, quickly trying to hit a word count, it can be easy to write yourself into a corner or fill your manuscript with purple prose as you flounder with further plot development. I’m not suggesting you plan out the entire novel, but it would be a good idea to sign post it before, so you know which direction to give to story.
8. Keep it Fun
Finally, if it’s becoming a chore, don’t be afraid to rethink the direction your plot has taken and re-direct it to add more spice. If you’re getting bored and losing interest in your own story, the same can easily happen to the person reading it.