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How to get that novel written (how I do it)

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A lot of folks have asked me how I manage to write as much as I do whilst juggling a day job and a family. Well, here’s the thing. 60k words or 90k words or 20k words for a novel or a novella sounds like one hell of a lot to write and I think a lot of folks get put off by the sheer volume that is mounted in front of them. My kids do exactly same if you put a huge plate of food in front of them. They’ll pick at it, but not eat it all. Of course, if I put a tiny plate of food down in front of them they will eat it all and ask for more, resulting in the big plate getting eaten.

Um, yeah, so, my really life changing advice for writing a novel is to eat like a kid.


No, really. It sounds daft doesn’t it?

Let me show you what I mean in a way that actually has a result.

I want you to sit down and write 200 words. Right now. Don’t think about it.┬áOpen “Word” or grab a pen and write 20 lines of absolute rubbish. Doesn’t matter if it’s dazzling prose, or if its utter trite (Some people say that’s what I write anyway so if it works for me…)

Don’t continue reading until you have done that.

Okay? We now have 200 words on screen or on a piece of toilet paper, or wherever you put it.  How long did it take you? Ten minutes? Five Minutes? Twenty?

Here’s the fact.

If you do that every day, this time next year you will have written enough for a 300 page novel.

200 x 365 =  73,000 = 300 (ish) page novel.

Or 3 novellas. Or a short novel and a novella.

This is something you have to do every day, including your birthday and Christmas, otherwise you will get out of the habit.

Dealing with the other issue – continuing the novel.

It’s sometimes hard to pick up where you left off. Actually, it’s always hard to jump back into that frame of mind in an instant, and how you are going to do that is by not finishing what you started each day. Yes, ignore all that “Finish what you start” stuff. You’re going to finish what you start by not finishing it every single day.

Leave your writing in mid-sentence / mid-paragraph. Leave it hanging. Try not to leave it sitting there waiting for you on at the start of a new page or a new chapter. If you leave it mid-sentence you will be in a much better place to get into your “writing mind”, because you already knew what you were going to write next, and finishing that sentence or paragraph should be enough to drag you into your writing “place”.

To give you an idea of how writing just a little bit a day can soon add up. This blog is just over 550 words long and it took me five minutes. I don’t blog every day, but if┬áI┬ádid I would have clocked up 200,000+ words every year. or three novels worth (Or ten novellas).

This works for me, working 50+ hours a week for a paper writing service, being a husband and a dad. It can also work for you.

So, to follow my own advice I’m going to finish this blog in mid…




A little bit about what’s to come…

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I thought I would put a quick post up to clarify a couple of things and to let you know what’s coming soon. First off I started writing some of Diary of the Displaced 2 about a month ago, got 10,000 words in, and realised that I needed to put it aside for a short while – just long enough to sort a few of the ideas out in my head. So it’s coming, but it’s not coming next. Yes, I know it’s the one that everyone who reads my stuff wants next, but I have to make sure it’s good and not crap.

To correct a confusion – Chasing spirits is a stand alone novel, not the sequel to the Diary, and not the first in it’s own series, but we haven’t seen the last of Reggie, Joe or Marie (see Diary of the Displaced 2 – when I finish it.)

What is next…
As much as I get told off for writing multiple projects at the same time, there isn’t a lot I can do about it. It’s how it happens. The next book that will be finished is the first in a new series that continues the tale of Joe Dean from Chasing Spirits. ┬áThey will be novellas, and I’ve got ideas for lots of them (I already know the rough plots for the first three).

Some interesting posts from two writer’s blogs that I follow

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Think like a publisher by Dean Wesley Smith

Dean has been doing a lot of posts giving guidance to not just Indie authors, but authors in general.
If you are published, or thinking of publishing, check out his blog. He has┬ácertainly┬áopened my eyes about just how many venue there are for ebooks. Dean, I’ll hit the donate button on my next visit!.

What Works: Promo for ebooks by J A Konrath

His most recent post is certainly apt for me, having recently published my second book only 2 weeks after the first. I’m sort of in limbo with sales and a bit clueless about how to reach people who might like my writing. So I tried giving stuff away on, and it certainly gained the attention of a small but very keen bunch of readers out of the thousands that read the first book, but of course most feedbooks readers are aldiko readers (like me!), who won’t┬ánecessarily┬ávisit smashwords or amazon.

Time to start hunting down another way to reach people!

How did that happen?

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I’m not sure how it happened, but I accidentally started writing the next James Halldon Diary.

It would seem that it is insisting on being written next. I only meant to make a few notes and BOOM, three Episodes escaped. I’ve also written some bits of later episodes, which also were only┬ásupposed┬áto be notes but somehow turned into diary┬áentries. One interested note though. it would seem (and I wasn’t expecting this either!) that my third book – the second Diary of the Displaced – is the sequel to both books currently released. Get your head round that one (I haven’t yet)


Day 52…

Nearly there…

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Well, I’m about half-way through editing The Memoirs of Reginald Weldon, and my eyes have gone all blurry, and my head is aching. I guess it’s probably time to stop for a bit. I also think I caught the sun today at a family do .

Not that I’m complaining really. We don’t get a whole lot of it here, so it makes a nice change.

I must admit, after the amount of people who said they enjoyed the Journal of James Halldon, I’m quite nervous about putting out a second book. It’s quite different, even though it’s set in the same, um, setting.

When I had had enough of editing yesterday, I had a look through the book that I’m thinking of finishing next. At the moment it’s called Crossing (not sure if that will be the final title, but I like it at the moment). Well, that book is also a little different. Out of first person and into third! With a group of people finding themselves in a dangerous situation, rather than one.

I think I’ll get that one done, at least, before looking back at the next James Halldon journal, though I’m also quite keen on another unfinished book. Twelve of them in all, from quarter written to half written. I’ve promised myself I will finish all of them. I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of memory space in my head for what I still haven’t started! Edit one more page maybe. At least I’m going for a beer later.