10 Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Start Their Book

By on July 16, 2017
10 Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Start Their Book - Writer's Life.org

Starting a new story is an exciting time for any writer. There is an adrenaline, a nervousness, and a tension which mark the promise of things to come. Starting a new book can feeling thrilling, daunting and overwhelming at times, but one thing is certain, before you do, you better be prepared!

Many people start books and never finish them, and it’s no wonder. Writing a book is difficult and requires lots of time, dedication and perseverance. If you want to ensure that you make it to the end, you need to do certain things before you start to give yourself the best chance of success.

So the next time you sit down to write a novel, make sure you have:

1 Managed your own expectations

It can be so easy to have such a romantic idea of what writing a novel will be like. Dreamy days filled with coffee and creativity, long country walks for inspiration, constantly feeling like you're living the life you were meant to…

The reality however, for most, is very different. Writing is a job, it’s a commitment. It involves long hours and painful moments, times where you feel as though you don’t know what you are doing, where you don’t feel like writing at all. You need to be realistic about what writing a book takes out of you - but then do it anyway because it’s still worth it in the end!

2 Done your research

You might find that things come up as you write your novel that require you to go away and research some more, but if you can get the bulk of your research done before you write your story you’ll feel so much more confident when you begin.

3 Created an outline

Writing without a plan works for some writers, but for the majority having a plan and chapter outlines in place helps them to have their novel mapped out. This way they know their story works and are less likely to get stuck or suffer from writer's block halfway through.

4 Gotten yourself in the right frame of mind

Try to banish that inner self-critic before you begin. He isn’t going to help you get your novel finished and you need to stay positive and believe in yourself - have a mantra, listen to energising music - do whatever it takes to get yourself pumped and ready to get going!

5 Made time to get to know your characters

Before you start your book your characters should already be alive and well and living in your head. Make time to get to know them and they’ll come across as well fleshed out and interesting from the outset.

6 Have a conflict and a resolution in mind

All stories should have some sort of conflict, and by the end of the novel, the conflict should have been resolved. Know what yours is before you begin and centre your book around it.

7 Have identified your genre rules

It's always a good idea to understand which genre your book would sit in, and then learn the rules of that genre to make sure you follow them. Read lots of other work in that genre too to get some much-needed inspiration.

8 Completely pictured the world you are trying to create

Know your world and you’ll make it believable from the outset. Creating a world is all in the details and it’s only by really knowing and being able to see it in your mind's eye, that you’ll be able to tap into these details and express them on the page.

9 Made a writing schedule

A realistic writing schedule is so important. Create one you know you can stick to before you begin your novel, and then do everything in your power to keep to it!

10 Created the perfect workspace

As you type those first few words, make sure you are doing so in a writing space that works for you. Creating a beautiful writing space can really help you focus and get creative, so give some thought as to what you’d want in yours and then try to make it happen!

These 10 things will put you in the right frame of mind to write, make you feel organised and prepared and already help you to know your story intimately - so you’ll find the story flows more naturally.

What things do you do to prepare when writing a novel? Let us know!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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