It’s an exciting time when you sit down to begin writing your first novel. Exciting, that is, until you’re not sure what it is that you actually want to write. Before you start writing, it’s a good idea to plot out some of the things you want to do with your novel first. Come up with character names. Have a basic plot. Think about how you want to end your novel one day. That will make it easier to begin writing the first chapter.
Once you’ve done that, these additional novel writing tips for beginners can help to make the creative process become a little easier.
#1. Commit to a certain amount of writing every day. You can decide to write for a specific period of time each day or you can reach a certain word count. Either way, this will allow you to make daily progress on your novel. If you can write 1,000 words per day for 90 days, you’ll have a full novel written in just 3 months. That’s doable, right?
#2. Don’t worry about perfection the first time around. The first draft of your novel is supposed to be imperfect. The goal here is to make sure your ideas get put down. Mistakes can always be corrected later. Just get those words out.
#3. Create your own novel writing space. Even if it’s just a small corner in your bedroom, it’s important to have some space that is specifically for writing. Creating this space will allow you to create mental barriers that stop distractions from interrupting the creative process. Don’t go into this space unless you intend to write. Try not to leave it until you are finished writing. This will take your creativity up to another level.
#4. Don’t worry about chapter length. If you’ve ever read a James Patterson novel, then you’ll see that the length of a chapter really doesn’t matter. Write what seems to fit into your story. Most readers will be more engaged with the characters and plot rather then the actual structure of your novel.
#5. Give your characters a compelling problem that must be solved. This will become the foundation of the overall story you’re about to tell. Have this problem start right away at the beginning of the novel. Tie the problem into the current events of the day if you wish. Remember: you’re writing this novel for you and no one else. Don’t worry about what family or friends will think. Just write what you’d want to read.
#6. Let your descriptions become complex. You have every written word of your language at your disposal. Don’t just tell people that “the sunset was beautiful.” Offer something bigger and bolder. “The sky dripped with yellow and pink hues like an artist creating a sky watercolor for a free exhibit the whole world could see. This same rule also applies to the dialogue of your characters.
#7. Watch out for the mid-novel crisis. Thoughts often come flooding through the mind of a writer when the novel reaches the mid-way point. Will people be receptive of this book? Are people going to be offended by what you’ve written? Will your parents, kids, spouse, or [fill in the blank] ever speak to you again? Keep pushing forward. You’ll find that most people are going to be receptive of your work when you get that final draft ready to go.
#8. It’s okay to be your own worst critic. Being critical of your own work while writing a novel will drive you to become a better writer. It will improve the story. Just make sure the criticism you give yourself is fair. There is a big difference between negative self-talk and an honest evaluation of the quality of work you’ve produced.
#9. Write your story as it needs to be written. Now that you’ve seen all of these novel writing tips for beginners, here’s the most important tip of all: forget them if you need to do so. The goal of a novel is that it should be authentic. Write honestly. Tell the story you have in your mind to the very best of your ability every time you enter your writing space.
Most importantly, be confident with the words that you put together for your novel. Be bold. Then the challenge is to keep writing. It can be easy to get up from your chair, desk, or writing space to find something that seems like it would be more productive to do. That stuff can wait. There will always be moments of self-doubt and not every novel will find critical acclaim, but this is your story. It deserves to be told.
These writing tips can help make sure that happens.