Here’s one of the many awesome five-star reviews I’ve had for my book How To Write a Novel in 6 Months:
It intrigued me; I wondered what the special piece of advice that helped this writer was. I like to think my little guide contains lots of useful information. Those who’ve read it tell me it has certainly helped them get going with their novels. And the reviews suggest it’s got some handy tips, too.
Of course, I couldn’t guess what spoke to this writer, above.
But I know what my Eureka! moment was when I was struggling with my novels. I was trying to follow what I regard as the most impractical bit of advice hurled at would-be authors:
Write every day.
I found this to be demoralising. At the beginning of the week, I would be full of enthusiasm, determined to get to my desk every day and produce a certain number of words. Like I say in the book, Monday went brilliantly: I’d hit my target, whatever it was; 1,000 or 2,000, perhaps.
I was raring to go on Tuesday.
Then Tuesday came. Life got in the way. I got busy at work (yes, I, like the vast majority of would-be writers had a full-time job). Family matters needed attending to (don’t many of us have kids, pets, husbands, wives, mums, dads?). And Tuesday went: 0 words. I had already failed.
This appeared to be the cycle. I got writing, then I got busy. I soon realised that most “gurus”, many of those who give advice on “how to write a novel”, “how to be a writer”, often haven’t finished a novel themselves; they’ve not lived in the real world of writing.
I had to get real if I wanted to be a writer.
And that’s when the Eureka! moment struck me:
Don’t write every day.
That’s right: ignore that unrealistic piece of advice.
But I still needed a target, a goal. I think this is very important if you want to finish your novel. But daily word-targets just didn’t work in the real world. However, weekly ones just might…
And that was it. I set myself a weekly word target, for my first draft, especially. I aimed for around 8,000 words a week. I found that it didn’t matter if I missed a day due to LIFE; as long as I worked hard on the days i had available to write, I could hit my goal. And I did.
And this is how I wrote two novels a year.
So that was my “special piece of advice”, if you like; the revelation.
I still don’t know what bit of advice helped the writer above. I am only glad that they found something of value in my book. That’s the whole point, after all: to help others write their novels in the real world.
If you’ve read my book, I’d be delighted to hear if you found a “special piece of advice” in it, just one thing that made you think: A-ha!
If you’ve not read it, please let me know a piece of advice that really inspired you.
Get in touch with my on Twitter, @thomasemson and share your thoughts.