Have a writing routine. The creative process is usually helped by having a writing routine: a place and time set aside for you to write and with a little ritual -  like making a cup of coffee - leading up to the writing. If you approach your writing in the same way every day, very soon you’ll find that by the time you sit down to write your subconscious will be fired up and ready to go. Your imagination will start producing the words you need to write creatively.

The Darkness Within

The Darkness Within

Begin with what is in your head and simply write. You can perfect your grammar and sentence structure later when you edit. Get down that first draft, which will be immediate, passionate and raw, but form the basis of your story.

Polish, shine and check until you are convinced your work is word perfect. It won’t be; it never is, but don’t ever submit anything which is not your personal best.

Read widely in your chosen genre and analyse what works well and why. Never be tempted to plagiarise (copy the work or idea of someone else) but do learn the craft from the masters, that is, successful writers.

Listen carefully to advice but don’t feel obliged to always take it. It is your story so think carefully before you drastically change it. If you have the courage of your convictions then there is more chance that eventually others will too.

If you want your work published you will need to develop a reasonably good standard of English and be computer literate, unless you are going to ask someone else to type up your work or pay an agency to do it, which is going to be expensive.

Most computer software comes with a spelling and grammar checker. Use it, but with caution. While they are usually good for picking up basic errors (silly spelling mistakes, typing errors, extra spaces, omissions of capital letters, etc.), they are far from foolproof and often make errors of judgement far worse than your own.

If you are going to publish your work using the traditional method and submit to a literary agent or publisher then follow their submission guidelines – usually found on their website. If you don’t, it’s unlikely they will even glance at your work, they will be far too busy reading the works of those who have followed their guidelines.

If you are going to self-publish I would advise you to pay to have your work edited first.  It is very difficult to spot your own mistakes. If your work is non fiction and involves living people I would also suggest you pay for a legal report. Another cost but not as costly as being sued.

Don’t lose heart if your work isn’t published straightway and don’t give up, but never let it become an obsession.  Many successful authors went unnoticed for years. One last word, writing won’t make you rich, we write because we want to, need to, and love writing.

For many more tips on writing and having your work published please see my book – written under the pseudonym Cathy Glass : About Writing and How To Publish by Cathy Glass. https://www.amazon.co.uk/About-Writing-Publish-Cathy-Glass/dp/0007542216