Are you just starting out on your writing journey and looking for some advice?
You’re in the right place!
We’ll be sharing some tips and strategies to help you get started and succeed as a writer. From finding your writing niche and setting goals, to seeking feedback and staying motivated, we’ve got you covered. So let’s get started on your writing journey together!
Who are we?
We are Hackney and Jones Writers and Publishers.
We’re the team behind the bestselling novel “Meet Me at 10”, a gritty and emotional historical fiction set in the 1950s Deep South that achieved bestseller status.
But we don’t just write historical fiction – we’ve also written crime and non-fiction books with 5-star reviews.
As new authors, we’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, and we wish we had known these things before we started our writing journey. That’s why we’re here to share our experience and insights with you. Whether you’re interested in fiction, crime, or non-fiction, we hope our tips and advice will help you become a successful author like us.
Find your writing niche.
It’s important to find your unique voice as a writer. Think about what topics and genres you’re most passionate about, and try to focus on those. This will help you stand out and find your audience.
These are some genres you may want to experiment with:
Romance – Romance novels focus on the romantic relationships between characters and often have a happy ending. They’re popular with readers because they offer an escape from reality and the chance to experience strong emotions. Click Here to check out romance novels on Amazon as a guide.
Mystery/Thriller – Mystery and thriller novels are full of suspense and often involve solving a crime or uncovering a secret. They’re popular with readers because they keep them on the edge of their seats and offer a sense of excitement and intrigue. Click Here to check out Mystery/Thriller novels on Amazon.
Fantasy – Fantasy novels take place in a fictional world and often involve magic and mythical creatures. They’re popular with readers because they offer a chance to escape into a different world and experience something out of the ordinary. Click Here to check out Fantasy novels on Amazon.
Science fiction – Science fiction novels often involve futuristic or speculative elements, such as advanced technology or extraterrestrial life. They’re popular with readers because they explore ideas and concepts that are outside the realm of everyday experience. Click Here to check out Science Fiction novels on Amazon.
Historical fiction – Historical fiction novels are set in the past and often explore historical events and cultures. They’re popular with readers because they provide a glimpse into the past and help bring history to life. Click Here to check out Historical Fiction novels on Amazon.
Young Adult – Young adult novels are geared towards a teenage audience and often explore themes of identity, relationships, and coming of age. They’re popular with readers because they offer relatable characters and storylines that speak to the challenges and experiences of being a teenager. Click Here to check out Young Adult novels on Amazon.
Crime – Crime novels focus on crime and detective work and often involve solving a mystery or catching a criminal. They’re popular with readers because they offer a sense of intrigue and excitement. Click Here to check out Crime novels on Amazon.
Horror – Horror novels are designed to scare and often involve supernatural or grotesque elements. They’re popular with readers because they offer a chance to experience fear and adrenaline in a controlled setting. Click Here to check out Horror novels on Amazon.
Chick lit – Chick lit novels are geared towards a female audience and often explore themes of relationships, career, and self-discovery. They’re popular with readers because they offer relatable characters and storylines that speak to the experiences and challenges of being a modern woman. Click Here to check out Chick Lit novels on Amazon.
Set writing goals and deadlines.
Having specific, measurable goals can help you stay motivated and on track. Try to set aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your writing, and don’t be afraid to give yourself deadlines to keep you moving forward.
Decide what you want to accomplish with your writing. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable.
Create a schedule or plan. Figure out how much time you can realistically dedicate to writing each day or week, and make a schedule that works for you.
Set deadlines for yourself. Giving yourself deadlines can help you stay motivated and on track. Make sure they’re realistic, but also give yourself enough time to accomplish your goals.
Break your goals down into smaller chunks. If your goal is to write a full draft of a book, it might be overwhelming to think about all at once. Break it down into smaller goals, like writing a certain number of chapters or pages each week.
Review your progress and adjust as needed. It’s important to periodically check in with yourself and see how you’re doing. If you’re not meeting your goals, it might be time to adjust your schedule or set new deadlines. On the other hand, if you’re meeting your goals easily, you might want to challenge yourself and set more ambitious goals.
Practice writing every day.
Just like with any skill, the more you practice writing, the better you’ll become. Try to make writing a daily habit, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
Start small. You don’t have to write for hours at a time to see progress. Even 10 or 15 minutes a day can add up.
Experiment with different writing prompts or exercises. This can help you get started if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired. Click here for books on writing prompts to help get your creative juices flowing.
Find a writing partner or accountability group. Having someone to write with or check in with can help you stay on track.
Keep a writing journal or notebook. This can be a great way to jot down ideas and practice your writing skills on a regular basis. Click here for a writing journal to keep your ideas safe.
Read widely and consistently.
Reading is essential for improving your writing skills. Make a habit of reading different genres and styles of writing to broaden your understanding and help you find your own voice.
Try out different genres and styles. Reading widely can help you expand your understanding of the craft and find your own voice as a writer.
Join a book club or reading group. Discussing what you’re reading with others can help you get more out of the experience and stay motivated.
Find a reading buddy or accountability group. Having someone to read with or check in with can help you stay on track and make reading a consistent habit.
Join a writing group or workshop.
Participating in a writing group or workshop can be a great way to get feedback and support from other writers. It can also help you stay motivated and on track with your writing goals. (This is what helped us come up with the idea for ‘Meet Me At 10′)
Search online or in your local community for writing groups or workshops. Look for ones that focus on the type of writing you’re interested in or that meet at a convenient time and location.
Attend a meeting or workshop to see if it’s a good fit for you. Most writing groups or workshops will allow you to attend a few sessions before committing to membership.
Consider what you’re looking for in a writing group or workshop. Do you want feedback on your work? Networking opportunities? A chance to learn new writing techniques? Make sure the group or workshop aligns with your goals.
Bring a piece of your writing to share with the group or workshop. This is a great way to get feedback and see how others respond to your work.
Be open to constructive criticism and feedback. It can be tough to hear negative comments about your writing, but it’s an important part of the learning process. Try to keep an open mind and consider the feedback you receive as an opportunity to improve.
Seek feedback and criticism.
Getting feedback from others can be tough, but it’s an important part of the writing process. Try to find a writing mentor or critique group to help you improve your work and take it to the next level. It hurts sometimes, but it’s vital in order to improve and be the best writer you can be!
Learn the basics of grammar and style.
A strong foundation in grammar and style is crucial for any writer. If you’re feeling unsure about these areas, there are plenty of resources available to help you improve your skills.
Invest in a good grammar and style guide. There are many books and online resources available to help you learn the basics of grammar and style.
You can use Grammarly for free (we recommend this for any kind of writing you are sending out to the public)
Find your writing space and tools.
Having a dedicated writing space and the right tools can make all the difference. Find a place where you feel comfortable and can focus, and invest in the tools that work best for you (like a laptop, notebook, or pen and paper).
Grammar checker – A grammar checker can help you catch mistakes and improve your writing. Many word processing programs have built-in grammar checkers, or you can use a standalone tool like Grammarly.
Thesaurus – A thesaurus can help you find synonyms for common words and expand your vocabulary. This can be especially useful if you’re trying to avoid repetition or add variety to your writing.
Outline or planning tool – An outline or planning tool can help you organize your ideas and plot out the structure of your story. There are many software programs and apps available that can help with this. Click here to check out our Novel Outline Planners that take you from blank page to published!
Character development tool –
A character development tool might include a questionnaire that helps you create a detailed profile of your character. This might include information about the character’s appearance, personality, background, goals, fears, and motivations. For example, a character development tool might ask you questions like:
- What does your character look like (e.g., hair colour, height, build)?
- What is your character’s personality like (e.g., outgoing, introverted, ambitious)?
- What is your character’s background (e.g., where they grew up, their family history)?
- What are your character’s goals (e.g., career aspirations, relationships)?
- What are your character’s fears (e.g., failure, rejection)?
- What motivates your character (e.g., a desire for success, a need for approval)?
Answering these types of questions can help you create a more fully fleshed-out, believable character that readers will be able to connect with.
Scrivener – Scrivener is a writing software program that offers many features specifically designed for novelists, including an outline tool, a character development tool, and the ability to view your work in different ways (e.g., by chapter or by scene). Click here to check it out.
Get inspired and stay motivated.
Writing can be tough, so it’s important to find ways to stay inspired and motivated. Try setting aside time to do things that inspire you, like reading, listening to music, or taking a walk.
Find your writing muse. Figure out what inspires you and try to incorporate it into your writing routine. This might be music, art, nature, or something else entirely.
Keep a writing journal or notebook. Jot down ideas, quotes, or observations as they come to you. This can be a great way to spark creativity and stay motivated.
Experiment with different writing prompts or exercises. This can help you get started if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired.
Persevere and keep writing.
Writing is a journey, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Don’t be afraid to face challenges like writer’s block or rejection. Keep writing and learning, and eventually, you’ll see progress and success.
Remember, becoming a successful author takes time and hard work. But with these tips and some persistence, you can get started on your writing journey and achieve your writing goals.
Vicky & Claire x
Our writing resources have everything you need to elevate your craft and succeed. Check out our resources today and see the difference for yourself. CLICK HERE
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- 10 Tips for New Authors: How to Get Started on Your Writing Journey
- Don’t Wing It: The Benefits of Plotting Your Novel Before You Write