I know you’re thinking that writing a novel is extremely intimidating, and at times it really can be. I’ve written seven of them now and every time I sit and stare at that blank page, even if I’ve plotted the whole thing out and I know what I need to do, it doesn’t stop my stomach squirming!

But you have the power to ignore that wriggly worm in your tummy and fulfill that ambition. All you have to do is start writing!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But how do you actually get started?

Get an idea first

Whether you’re a panster (you write by the seat of your pants without a plan) or you’re a plotter (you have a detailed plot for what’s going to happen) make sure your idea has legs. Can you see the character developing over 60,000 words? Can you think of enough events to last the course of an entire novel? If you can’t, then you might want to consider another idea.

Don’t panic, though! It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough to be a writer. I can’t tell you the number of ideas I’ve had that just don’t work as a novel. Sometimes I bin them, sometimes they’re good for short stories. It’s just part of the process!

Don’t think too far ahead

At this stage, don’t think about what people will say if your novel gets published or how will it be received by critics. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I’m not saying you should think about the genre you’re writing in. It’s important to understand what is and isn’t going to work in your chosen genre, but there’s a whole process to go through before you need to worry about agents and publishers. We’ll talk about editing later.

The important thing is to get your first draft down.

Write for you

We’ve all heard the saying write what you know, but I have to say, it’s one I hate! I don’t know anything about being an event organiser (Hetty in Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay) or being a food technologist (Esme in Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage), but I have got a computer and I love me some research!

So, write want you want to write! And again, don’t worry about what people will say! If you want to write naughty, sexy romance then go for it. If you want write something sweeter and slow-burn, then do it. Write what makes you happy or you won’t keep bothering.

Take it a step at a time

As you write, you’ll think it’s all rubbish! Again, it’s perfectly normal and most of the time, it’s not true! (It will be sometimes, but that’s normal too!)

Take your writing a step at a time. Don’t worry about editing and agents and publishers just yet. At the moment, you’re telling yourself the story and figuring out what does and doesn’t need to be in there. Even better, just go chapter by chapter, day by day. If you keep plugging away, you’ll get all the words down and at the end of it, you’ll have a whole damn book!

So here’s the basic stuff, but if you want some more specific tips on writing that first draft, check out my blog post here! https://www.keginger.com/my-top-five-tips-for-finishing-that-first-draft/

And, don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list for more writing advice and behind the scenes info on my next book. You’ll also get a bonus scene from one of my novels, only available to newsletter subscribers!

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