#1 STAY FOCUSED
There's always, always something that can distract you from sitting in your writing chair. The grandkids want you to go play in the snow. The doughnut in the kitchen is calling your name. It takes a lot of self discipline to get a book written. You are your own boss, so you have to keep reminding yourself that if you don't get a book written, you are not going to get it published.
#2 NOTEBOOK, FILE, SOMETHING
Keep a notebook, file or something to refer back to concerning your characters. If Tommy has brown eyes on page four, blue eyes on page sixty and brown eyes on page two hundred, your readers will scream at you. I'm old school. I still use a notebook and a pen for my rough outline ideas. On the first page of that notebook I write the ABC's down one side, and then I start a list of my characters. You really shouldn't have characters with the same first initial. It's confusing to your reader. Also hero/heroine with sound alike names (Lisa and Lane) will stump your reader. Especially on series books when I need to remember the hero from book one when I'm writing book seven, I buy one of those little recipe card files and keep it right beside my computer. Each character, even the dogs and cats, gets an index card (filed alphabetically by first name) in the card box. That way all I have to do is find the card, and presto hero in number one was six feet two inches tall and had blue eyes. Some folks like to do this on the computer, and that's fine, but once I lost nine thousand words by shutting the wrong window and not saving. So it's old school for me.
#3 EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!
Your rough draft is finished. Now it's time to edit, edit, edit. Have someone else read your manuscript, and don't take the constructive criticism personal.
#4 WALK AWAY
If you begin to feel overwhelmed while you're working on those edits, get up and walk away from them. That's when it's all right to leave the writing chair. Take a walk. Pet the cat. Get your mind cleared so you can go back to the edits with a fresh outlook.
#5 START A NEW BOOK
Your book is finished, is in the agent's hands or the publisher's, now what? You start another book! This is the WRITE, DON'T WHINE! phase. Don't whine that it's taking so long to get your book published, or that you've got rejection slips. Write another book while you're waiting. When that first one does sell, you'll have a new one in your hands to sell.
1. Write. No seriously, just write. You can't become an author without writing something.
2. Focus on getting your thoughts on the paper. You can tidy up afterwards.
3. Challenge yourself. Set word counts to push yourself to do more.
4. Get someone to proofread your book. You'll be supprised to see how many things you miss.
5. Hire an editor for your first books. It makes a huge difference.
1) Start with an elevator pitch to yourself. Is the story intriguing? Is there an interesting protagonist and challenge? Do you want to know more?
2) Commit to finishing the story. Once you begin a plot that drives you to write it, let nothing stop you from completing that last draft.
3) Don't show anyone your first draft. Whether it's to your editors or your beta readers, always put your best foot forward. Besides, they probably think you're a genius and most first drafts will dispel that notion.
4) Challenge yourself. Give yourself a word count and stick to it. Write in a genre you dislike, just to see if you can do it. The lessons you learn while doing this make you a stronger writer in the genre(s) you enjoy writing.
5) Never write to the trend. By the time you write your story and get it edited and published, the trend's already moved on. Instead, #bethetrend!
Always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Most new authors feel that with programs like Grammarly they can just edit their books themselves, which is a great tool to clean up an outline. But it is important to also hire a professional editor to really polish your book and make it the best it can be. Readers always know when a book wasn't edited properly and this can affect the type of reviews they give the book once it's published.
Write, what you want. The whole purpose of writing is that 10 writers can be given the same outline of a story and come up with completely different and fantastic tales. We don't need more folks writing to market. We need people creating and telling a story with their own unique voice. Sometimes those stories will fall "within market" sometimes on the "borderline" and sometimes totally "out of the grid".
All of this is great and needed. Don't let others (writers/editors/readers) control your story or your creative process. Listen, learn, adjust...but at the end write the story YOUR characters are telling you.
If you don't have talking voices in your head, leading you off your outline every once in a while...or even often, then your not doing it right! You can be a great writer, be 100% true to you and your characters and still make money (if that is your most important goal-who doesn't like money?)
I feel-a great story and some good marketing will always make you a winner, even if you don't follow the crowd. Stay YOUR course, do the WORK, and have fun! Also remember is a LONG race in the writing business.
1) Write. Keep writing no matter what. Writing is like a muscle. It has to be used to develop.
2) Your writing will change as you do. Your voice will evolve as you grow, so accept that your first book will be very different from your tenth or even twentieth.
3) Be open to suggestions. Reviews (good and bad), beta readers, editors, and fellow authors can all help you become a better writer. Some things may not be what you want to hear but listen. You may hate having to change something in your manuscript but try it and see what happens. You can write in a bubble, but you can't publish in one.
4) Write what you want to write, and don't follow the trends in genres. Writing something because you think you will capitalize on whatever the hottest genre is will turn out to be a mistake. What is hot today, could have turned cold by the time you publish, so write what you want to read. Chances are, you will find readers who want to read it, too.
5) NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!! The only person who will believe in you and your book IS YOU! Accept that there are days you will want to walk away, but always vow to keep going.
1) Read or listen to audios. It will help you fine tune your writing.
2) After you are done with your first draft, walk away, and then go back and read again. You will read with fresh eyes and you will have new ideas to make the story better.
3) Don't fret about 1 star reviews. Welcome to the author world. Bad reviews come with the profession.
4) Don't worry about the grammar when you write your first draft. Just keep writing. Fix that during the second round.
5) Remember you CAN'T please ALL your readers. So write to please yourself. YOU must love your story before anyone else can.
1) Don't give up.
2) Listen to the advice of authors who have come before you, yet do what works best for you.
3) Get an editor.
4) Read other authors in the top 100 of your genre to better understand what readers like.
5) Never respond to reviews, but take a bad review and use it as constructive criticism to make your books better.
6) Leave your ego at the door
(Okay, that was six, but they are all important.)