- By Steve Dempster
- Published 03/24/2008
Have you ever wondered, as you sit at your keyboard, if there are any secrets to successful novel writing? Well there are – and here are five of them. Remember these secrets and your novel writing will improve overnight! To call the points below ‘secrets’ is perhaps to invest them with too great an air of mystery, yet it seems that so many words of advice are looked on as ‘secrets’ nowadays that I thought ‘what the heck? Go with the flow – call them secrets. Why not?’ I’ll tell you why not. Because it isn’t fair. The ‘secrets’ I’m about to tell you aren’t secrets at all – just good, solid advice that’s been proven on the writing mill time after time. So, when next you read some sales blurb offering to tell you ‘secrets’ that will absolutely guarantee your success and turn you into an A-list writer – remember me. Remember these five points. Remember that the writer’s road is a hard and rocky one. And especially remember that that road is the best road ever made! Point One: Adopt a professional attitude towards your work. Does this seem obvious? Of course it does – and yet you would be amazed at how many people write ‘when they can’ or ‘when the mood takes them’. If you are one of these people, you need to change this mental attitude right now – and I do mean right now. Unless you are another Hemingway or Joyce you will not succeed with such an approach. Set aside a regular time to work – then stick to it. Period.
Point Two: Identify your target market. Who will you write for? By this I mean what section of the reading public. A good thing to keep in mind is that you are more likely to be successful writing books on the subject yo
ur read yourself – romance or sci-fi for example – than forcing yourself to write in a genre unknown to you just because it seems to sell well. Point Three: Self-belief. This is one thing that – unfortunately – no-one can teach you, yet it is one of the most important things that any writer can possess. Indeed, without self-belief it is highly unlikely that you will ever really ‘make it’ as a writer. Why? Simply because writing is a tough game and only the strong survive. A writer’s strength lies in mental, rather than physical, toughness but it’s toughness just the same. Cultivate this strength at every opportunity. Point Four: Support. I’ve said this before in other articles and make no apology for saying it here – having the support of your family is of huge importance. If they understand that you are treating this writing business seriously and that you need to have set times in which to work then this will be of immense help to you. If they then go the extra mile and root for you at all times, well, you’re halfway there! Point Five: Rejection. This is perhaps the most dreaded aspect of writing for many would-be authors – the awful ‘pink slip’ of the rejection letter. What you must realise is that rejection is not a personal slight. Publishing is a business and all that rejection means is that your story or book doesn’t fit with what that editor wants at that moment. Many writers in fact have a ‘rejection selection’ that they keep to one side and resubmit at regular intervals. After all, times change – and so do editors!
So – five short ‘secrets’ that, if you keep them in mind and more importantly act upon them, will always help you along the way to being a published writer. No guarantees, though – anyone who offers you those is someone you really shouldn’t listen to!