03 January 2018

It’s everywhere. look at the internet, spend a little time on social media (only a little, mind you) and read the newspapers. For all those that didn’t know, it’s 2018. Apparently it’s time to start afresh and unleash a new you.

There couldn’t be anything falser, in my opinion.

Setting arbitrary points at which your whole world changes doesn’t work. New Year’s resolutions are probably filled with good intentions, but fail pretty quickly in reality.

We will be told it was because the resolution wasn’t realistic or that a plan wasn’t made. But the reality is, trying to make a major change takes a little time. It doesn’t usually happen overnight.

With your writing

Being a writer takes a certain degree of discipline. You can’t be poor at it one day and then great the next just because you have resolved to do something about it. It is a process. The more you write, something funny happens — the better you get at it.

I would suggest that you don’t make a New Year’s resolution to write a novel this year. This is just setting you up for failure, especially if you have never written one before. What you need is to develop your writing skills. And this takes two things –

  1. Read more
  2. Write more

It isn’t any more difficult than this. Reading more (and can I suggest David’s Goliath, my first novel) will help you to understand the craft. You will read what people want to read. It will help you to formulate an idea of what type of writer you want to be.

Writing more extends this. You can experiment with words and phrases, play with the language and develop your style. The result will be that you feel more confident about your writing with every sentence. Be critical (it’s the path to improvement) but don’t be scathing about what you have written. This is a learning curve and if you have never written a novel before, you are at the bottom of it.

Enjoy the ride!