1. Write More
This might sound obvious, but you'll be surprised at how many writers - and I know a couple - class themselves as such and yet barely write more than once a month, if that. Writing is not posing, or socialising, or even reading for that matter - it's the daily grind - the act of sitting down in front of a notebook or a computer and hacking away at that idea that keeps swirling around your head. Just be honest with yourself and look into your writer's mirror: Do you write enough? Could you write more? If the answer is yes to this last question then you need to have a look at how you manage your spare time and carve out a few more hours a week for writing. The reason J.K Rowling and Stephen King are famous is because as well as having good, original ideas they are also willing to sit down every day and write them down.
2. Set Clear Goals
Don't just write for writing's sake. You need to set yourself some clear goals for the future. This can be the immediate future such as finishing that chapter that you've been working on or it can be something more long term such as finishing a short story, a novel, or even trying your level best to get your work published and/or accepted by an agent. This year, for example, I aim to finish editing my current novel - Jack Strong and the Prisoner of Haa'drath - as well as write its sequel; and since I'm constantly flinging my last novel - Dragon Rider - around I also hope to find an agent for that too. The important thing is to never give up, to keep trying, and to keep that great idea of yours progressing towards completion.
3. Read More
Behind every good writer is a good reader who is willing to sit down for 1-2 hours every day and read around his or her own genre. The benefits to this are obvious:
1. You get to see what kind of novels that are getting published and more importantly read today.
2. When you're reading you are literally hoovering up language, grammar, and correct punctuation - three things that are of vital importance to your own work; and
3. You get to see how the author tells his or her own story - What kind of characters do they use? How much dialogue do they employ? Do they 'show' too much? Do they 'show' too little?
4. Don't Give Up
Writing is hard sometimes, as every writer knows. You may write yourself into a narrative cul-de-sac, find yourself cursed with writer's block, or even see your brand new super-duper novel rejected by every agent and publisher that you send it to. At this point you can do anything but whatever you do don't give up. If you're struggling with your story don't be afraid to leave it for a few weeks before going back to it - sometimes a mental break can give you fresh insights. You can also give it to a trusted friend to look at and get their feedback. It was one of George R.R Martin's friends, for example, who suggested that he put the dragons in at the end of his novel Game of Thrones, thus giving it more of a dramatic climax. Also, if your novel is rejected then the worst thing that you can do is to think that you're rubbish and to give up trying to get it published. Stephen King's first two books - The Running Man and The Long Walk - two of the finest dystopian thrillers ever written in my opinion were both rejected by the publishers whom he sent them to. King didn't give up then and neither should you - who knows perhaps your Carrie (King's first published novel) is just around the corner?
What are your writing and publishing experiences? If you have any comments on the subject of this blog then please do not hesitate to do so in the space below.
Also, if you would like to read my Young Adult's novel about a bullied, 12 year old boy's adventures on a strange spaceship in outer space then you can click on the link below: