- Write every day
Sit down in front of your computer and write. Don’t think about the words, just open your mind and let them flow. And repeat this process every day. This is important. When I made the decision to make writing my career as opposed to a dream, my writing improved dramatically. Why? Because like any skill, the more I practiced the stronger my writing voice became.There’s another reason why writing every day is important. If you listen to my readers, (I always listen to my readers), it’s my relatable and realistic characters that make them want to buy my books. I invest time with my characters, hanging out with them every day. Because of this, they trust me and start telling me their truths. When I ignore them, if I let life get in the way, then they make me pay for it and I lose days and sometimes weeks, trying to find them again.
- Don’t edit as you go along
Get your shitty first draft written in its entirety before you start editing. If you edit as you go along, you may never get beyond the first three chapters. There are times in life when it’s essential to look back, in order to move forward. The first draft is not one of them. Each day, re-read your last sentence and use that as your starting point.
- Edit, edit, then edit some more
Once you have completed your first draft and celebrated the achievement, (please do celebrate, it’s a huge deal!) sit down and read your work. I suggest you take at least two weeks to a month off before you do this. You need to approach your first read through, with readers eyes. Take notes and start your first rewrite.
Top tip, read your work in a different format to how you’ve written it. For me, I save to my kindle for my first read and then highlight notes as I go along. Repeat this process twice. Trust me, once, twice, three times an edit is a charm. And then read your work out loud. I guarantee you will catch some further issues when you do this.
- You need to be disciplined
Like everything in life, it takes discipline to achieve results. Boo, hiss. I hear you, trust. me. But like any big dream, to lose weight, get fit, learn a new skill, you need to put in consistent effort. Writing is no different. Set yourself a timeline to complete your project and a word count to achieve each day. For me, the more I write, the more I write…I set myself a target to write 1500 words, Monday to Friday. Somedays I do double or triple that. But no matter what, I try not to stop writing until I bypass that number. I have to be honest here and admit that there are times that life gets in the way and targets are forgotten. But life is messy and complicated, as well as being wonderful, so you have to take these slips in your stride.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
This is a hard one. It’s only natural to look over your shoulder to others who have achieved more than yourself. And don’t we always find ourselves lacking? Try to stop doing that. Don’t feed the imposter syndrome. The only person you are in competition with is yourself.
However, it’s good to know what other writers are doing for that all-important inspiration! I am forever setting new goals to reach and a lot of them come from watching author pals succeed with theirs.
(c) Carmel Harrington
About My Pear-Shaped Life:
Meet Greta. She’s funny. She’s flawed.
She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.
But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being yourself.
Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.
But Greta is about to discover that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…
‘So many women will find this book speaks to them. It makes you laugh and cry but it is truly inspiring’ Katie Fforde
‘Sweet, sad, insightful and joyful – this book pressed all the emotion buttons and I’m so glad it did’ Milly Johnson
‘Uplifting and powerful…I LOVED it’ Cathy Kelly
‘Warm, moving and life-affirming…Greta is a gorgeous character that you will fall in love with’ Sinead Moriarty
‘Warm, engrossing storytelling at its best’ Sheila O’Flanagan