|By Henriette Brown|
1. When you first start writing, keep an open mind. Try anything, until you find the perfect match between your own personal style and one particular story-telling genre. Finding the right outlet for your writing voice is a bit like falling in love with a pair of shoes in the shop window. If you try them on and they don’t fit, you know they’ll be a daily agony – it doesn’t matter how much you invest in them. Look elsewhere, and you’ll save yourself a lot of pain. Writing is hard enough, without having to struggle against your own nature every step of the way.
2. Find yourself a successful mentor, preferably through your local creative writing group. You need someone who will be honest about your work, and suggest ways you can improve. If you can’t find any face-to-face guidance, go on line and check out popular writers whose work you admire. Then you’ll see if they’ve produced any guides to writing that will help you. Kate Walker’s 12 point Guide to Writing Romance and Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance are both brilliant, and will take you step-by-step through the process of crafting the novel of your dreams.
3. Writing is a solitary business. Take care you don’t become too self-absorbed. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only person struggling to meet a word count, deadline, or grappling with characters who won’t grow and a plot that won’t arc. Meet up with like-minded people online for a new perspective. Check out Facebook and Twitter, of course – they’re brilliant, but can take up a lot of time. Visit your local library to find out about local creative writing groups, or join The Romantic Novelists’ Association or the Romance Writers of America. Both organisations provide lots of useful information and contacts.
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