Tag Archives: writing habits

Advice for writers staring out

I recently received an email from a writer who’s just starting out, and they wanted to know if I could give them any advice. It’s the first time anyone has asked me for writing advice, and I was very flattered.

Since my first full-length work isn’t quite finished, I wasn’t sure how much advice I could offer. Then I thought back on what I’ve found the most difficult thing about writing and what’s helped me.

In my experience, writing a novel is hard. It’s hard, not because of the technical aspects of it, but because of all of the self-doubts that crop up along the way. You’ll probably find yourself thinking things like ‘I’m a cruddy writer’, ’this book is stupid’ and ‘I’m never, ever going to finish’, the sorts of things that totally discouraging you from writing. That’s why you need to be persistent, to keep writing despite the self-doubts, and stubborn, for when persistence fails you.  Continue reading

Battling personal demons with a notebook

My notebook, where I excise my personal demons, turned to the page that reads 'trust your gut'.
The battleground, where I wage war against my personal demons.
Determining your writing process isn’t just about brainstorming and planning, it’s also about conquering the personal demons that are holding you back.

For me, writing has been as much about personal growth as it has been about learning the correct use of the semi-colon. It’s hard and scary, but in the long run, it’s more than worth it.

More than with your writing process, you need to find your own way to deal with the things that hold you back. Here’s how I’m dealing with one of mine. Continue reading

Exploring the writing process

Books on writing processes, including First Draft in 30 Days and What Would Your Charater Do?
Just some of the writing books in my reading pile.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent time trying to figure out the how to write a book. Not just the putting pen to paper bit, but the step-by-step process of planing, outlining and drafting. You’ve probably read books with titles like First Draft in 30 Days and No Plot? No Problem!. You might even have flirted with beat sheets, the Snowflake method, phase drafting and a hundred and one other techniques that promise to make your writing life easier. Continue reading

Writing and the magic bullet

A spread from my writing journal
A spread from my writing journal


When I started writing for more than just the amusement it provides, I scoured the internet for tips and tricks from established writers, unconsciously searching for a magic bullet (pill, sock, cat or milkshake) to write my book for me. Unfortunately there isn’t one, and what’s more writing a novel (which is a gzillion times longer than a tweet) requires discipline, planning and months, if not years or decades, of your life. Plus you don’t get paid for it.

But while I didn’t find the magic bullet (pill, sock, cat or milkshake) I did find some good advice1, some of which has informed the way I write now.

After more than two years of trail, error and some fruitless Googling, here’s what works for me and a few tips that might work for you.

Continue reading

  1. My favourite is in Jennifer Cruise’s post Hello, I’m Your New PRO Columnist: Reflections on the Columns I’m Not Going To Be Writing where she tells readers to forget what everyone else is doing and “go write your good book”. Sound advice. What are you waiting for? []

Writers Writing

I picked up a book in Kmart (my favourite place for cheap-ish, popular books) called the The Way of Kings. At 1000 pages it’s a monster, and it started me wondering what the author’s (Brandon Sanderson) writing habits were.

Brandon Sanderson, most famous (in my mind at least) for completing the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan’s death, spent a year and a half doing 14 hour days, 6 days a week1 to complete not just The Way of Kings but also Towers of Midnight, another monster2.

My mind just goes “wow”, and then I start to think about my writing habits. They aren’t great, certainly nothing like the full time job (and then some) that Sanderson committed himself to, and I think it’s time I pull up my writerly socks. I can’t put in the hours like Sanderson (what with the need to pay bills and all) but I can make a start.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I am committing myself to writing every Saturday morning in a local cafe (because home offers too many distractions). If I can do it for 4 weeks in a row I’m going to give myself a prize, only question is what’s the prize going to be?

  1. Another Long and Rambling Post on Future Books []
  2. Word count for the The Way of Kings is 387,000 & Towers of Midnight 328,000 []