I’m excited to share 10 excellent tips and secrets from 15 different highly successful people within the writing world, including New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors, agents, and editors. Discover the best ways to create your novel from first draft to polished submission and learn secrets from several best-selling authors and agents. These proven tips and tricks will help you in every stage of writing your brilliant novel, from start to finish.
“Read a lot. Write a lot. Then revise it until it’s awesome!”
–Chad Morris, author
The best practice for writing your novel is to read, read, read! Read in the genre you hope to write in, but also read in different genres. Find similar authors and study what makes their novels shine. Read passages out loud. What words stand out? Now practice reading your writing out loud. See if you can hear the weak sentences that need work. Can you hear your character’s voice? Make reading a top priority in your quest to become a better writer.
“Find your voice by writing tons and reading tons!” – Brandon Mull, NYT Bestselling Series Fablehaven
#2 Overcome the fear of mistakes
“Write fast and don’t look back until you’re done.” – Adam Sidwell
Turn off your inner editor when working on the first draft. Just write and revel in the freedom to find joy in your writing. Don’t be afraid to keep learning as you go because there is always another story in you waiting to be crafted. Make a project goal and break down your word count into daily and weekly totals. Keep a calendar of your writing and watch those words pile up. Keep moving toward the end goal, one word at a time. When crafting your magnum opus, don’t be afraid to bring it back to the basics and follow these guidelines on structuring and plotting your story; this way, when it comes to drafting, you won’t be going in blind.
“Make mistakes! Make glorious, awesome, beautiful, disastrous mistakes!” – Jennifer Nielsen, NYT Bestselling Author
#3 Develop a Core Belief in Your Writing
“Believe in what you write. You have to have a passion for your topic because if you don’t your story falls flat. Passion shows, and it passes from you to the reader.” – Samantha Millburn, editor, Covenant Communications
What is your reason to write? You must believe in yourself so you can push yourself to write what is best for you and your career. Write the book that calls to you because the characters are speaking to you. Find your core belief about writing and why it’s important to you. Now define it. Why must you write? What do you hope to accomplish? Who do you hope to influence? Finding the WHY behind your writing will propel you forward on the journey.
“Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Set a goal that’s right for you and reward yourself for reaching it.” – Ilima Todd, author
#4 Work hard
“Work. Work hard. Don’t be perfect. Just work. And when it’s all down on the page, shape it. And then take time to remember, YOU DID THAT. YOU. And feel the joy. And then let it fuel you to work some more.” – Melanie Jacobson, award-winning author
Writing is work in every stage. No matter how many novels you write, it won’t necessarily get easier, and it shouldn’t if you are pushing yourself to learn more and improve in your craft. Don’t be afraid of work. This is a simple secret to every type of success. Work is the proven factor that will separate you from the rest of the crowd. The tiny grains of sand that oysters work on become pearls. Your words can become a treasure when you strap on your writing boots and get to work.
“Work like mad. The harder you focus on your novel, the faster it will come into focus.” – David Farland, NYT Bestselling Author
#5 Attend Writing Conferences
“Write something cool. (And go to conferences.)” – James Dashner, NYT Bestselling Author
I credit attending writing conferences for getting me where I am today. The power of networking is immeasurable. And the writing craft, marketing, and advanced publishing skills you can learn at conferences is vital. And yes, I got this quote from James at a conference that we both attend on a regular basis. I’ve been attending writing conferences, classes, and workshops both in person and online for eleven years. When I attended my first conference, it was sort of a sucker-punch to realize just how little I knew about writing. At the same time, it was exhilarating to think that I had found a resource that would help me jump out of the slush piles and get my writing noticed. I am associated with literally hundreds of authors at many different stages in their writing careers. Some of them are acquaintances and others are the best of friends. I’ve met with editors, agents, publishers, and other top executives at writing conferences and I’ve always learned something that keeps my writing fire burning.
“Stop worrying about the rules; focus on the craft.” –Jen Rofe, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary