Stop dreaming, and start believing. You can write that book you’ve been thinking about for so long. It’ll be your chance to pass on your thoughts to family, friends and maybe even the wider world.
It doesn’t matter how much, or how little, writing you’ve done in the past. Everyone, from J.K Rowling to Snoopy, starts with a clean sheet at the beginning of every project.
Blank pages can be scary, but I’ll show you how to get around that problem. It was the least of my worries when I started my writing career. When I decided to write my first book, I didn’t have a computer (I bought one with my first royalty cheque). I wrote longhand, then typed up my notes on a borrowed laptop.
At that time, I didn’t have any contacts or friends in the writing world, either. Breaking into the charmed circle of people who wrote felt like an impossible task. There were loads of reviews of high-brow literature in the newspapers, on TV and radio, but it was hard to find any information on writing for fun and personal satisfaction.
When you start out as a writer, you need details at your fingertips. Over the next few weeks I’ll be passing on all the hints and tips I’ve gathered during my career as a prize-winning, multi-million selling author.
Writing is a great hobby. It’s never been easier to see your name in print, and who knows— you may even make some money!
My books are on sale all over the world, and my work has been translated into more than twenty different languages. I’ve learned a lot on my way to becoming an author. Now I’m passing that information on to you. Follow this blog to discover the whole story.
Once you start writing, your only problem will be knowing when to stop. When I talk to groups about my work, the one question guaranteed to turn up in the question-and-answer session at the end is “where do you get your ideas?” That’s easy— everywhere!
Local newspapers and online media are always rich sources of ideas. Clip, or cut and paste ideas, and keep them catalogued in a file (real or virtual). You never know when some snippet might come in useful. Check lists of anniversaries—there’s always something quirky to discover.
When you’re a writer, you can never be fed up or bored for long. I wrote His Majesty’s Secret Passion when I was so sick of an endless, gloomy winter that I wanted to escape to somewhere hot, sunny and romantic. His Majesty’s Secret Passion let me do that, and I had the pleasure of seeing my story come to life in print, too!
Listen in on conversations during your crowded commute (carefully, of course) to find inspiration. Make discreet notes on your phone, or carry a notebook with you.
Talk to people. There’s one thing everyone is an expert in, and that’s themselves. Ask your parents and grandparents for their memories. Life has changed out of all recognition in only a dozen years or so. Don’t let their memories vanish. With their permission, make a recording of their thoughts. You can type it up later, as I used to, or investigate a transcription system like Dragon Dictate. You’ll be creating perfect first-hand sources of research. Even if you don’t fancy yourself as an historical novelist, your archive could help others in the future.
Always keep a notepad by your bed, to capture those thoughts that wake you up in the middle of the night (you’ll never remember them otherwise. Trust me. I’ve been there).
Now it’s over to you—what are you going to write about?