So – you want to be a writer?

Read on for some tips on how to get started - and keep on going . . .

Writing Tips

Often writing is a secretive process, we scribble our thoughts, ideas and outlines in notebooks and on our laptops – but don’t tend to share them at that point. That is not a problem – it is simply writing with the door closed. Those aren’t my words but belong to the master – Stephen King. His full quote is “Write with the door closed, re-write with the door open.” I have read Stephen King’s “On Writing” more times than I can remember. It is a fabulous book on the craft of writing and what made Stephen King the author he is today.

 When we write that first draft it is just for us – an out pouring of thoughts and ideas that may not yet have form and sense.  Don’t worry – as that comes later when you invite editors and beta-readers into the room with you. How then, in this solitary endeavour, do we get help and navigate our way through the maze of creative writing to produce something that is worthy of being called a novel?

 I have found tremendous help on the internet, through the generosity of some very talented professionals who willingly share their experiences and answers to the numerous questions that the newbie author and indie publisher has.

I hope you find my comments to be useful and good luck in your writing experience.

Maybe  you’ve been writing for a while and have notebooks and scraps of paper filled with setting, character and story ideas. Perhaps you have just that one idea and it won’t leave your head. It doesn’t matter-for what you have done is make a decision that you will start, finish and publish your novel. You need to keep that objective in mind all the time; the road to finishing a book is a long one and the path is strewn with those who didn’t want to do this badly enough, those who like the idea but turn away from the task when they realise the enormity of the commitment.

 A commitment of time, energy, making sacrifices and spending some money to produce a professional product.

 The first, and best, tip I can give you is to buy and use Scrivener for your writing projects. There are versions for word and mac and you will adore it.

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool that helps you organise and manage your project from one screen. There is a binder that allows you to structure your text into chapters and scenes and easily move between them. There is a research area, outside the main manuscript, which can be used for outlines, to store information and data in text, image and web-link form. It costs virtually nothing-less than USD50.00 and comes with a  great tutorial to get you started. Have a look for yourself at

 I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that I would never have finished my first novel working in word alone

 The first thing is to decide if you want to follow the traditional route to being a published author, or if you will become a self-publisher, more commonly know these days as an indie publisher. If traditional I can’t really help you as I didn’t explore that avenue.  I have followed the indie path and will  be happy to share my experiences and, hopefully, you can learn from my, numerous, mistakes.

 I also recommend that you sign up to KDP – the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. They have loads of advice and talk you through the process from start to finish.

 In subsequent posts I’ll be looking at cover images, formatting for e-book and paperbacks, using Create Space to provide print-on-demand quality paperbacks and all the other related matters such as obtaining ISBNs, creating a publishing identity and getting the right professionals in place to polish your output.

 Then there is the marketing of the book – and that is a whole other chapter!


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