When I first became a mother I was repeatedly told ‘The days are long, but the years are short’ and while I do agree that the kids are shooting up before my very eyes, I have to say I think this saying also applies to being a writer. Some days at my laptop can feel long and lonely as I try to write the lengthy/worthy/entertaining novel, but then again, how the heck did 2019 just zoom by?! In that time I’ve managed to write a manuscript, edit it and submit it (the waiting game continues!).

I’m proud to say there’s a lot I’ve learnt this year, and as a sign out to the year, I’ve written this final post to share some key points about further growing into my ambition to become a published writer.

Let’s hit it:

A – Ambition

There are no bones about it, to become a published writer you have to want it! Ambition is everything and you’ll need spades of it!

B – Bookshops

It’s not enough to think of bookshops as simply a conduit to your reader. Bookshops are places to do your research, support other authors, support a local business and meet likeminded people — talk to your bookshop staff and get to know them, their knowledge will blow you away!

C – Curiosity

The best writers it seems are the curious ones… the ones who ask questions, pose different opinions, construct worlds, and seek to create.

D – Don’t say never

Don’t shut yourself off when writing… let the story unfold, let your creative mind go free and wild. That’s where the magic is!

E – Edit

*Groan* Yep, there are no bones about it… to write, pitch and publish you better get used to self-editing and the process of professional editing. Believe in your story but as mentioned above, don’t say no/never to the feedback – everyone is on board to help you produce your best work!

F – Friendship 

Most writers by nature are introverts, and perhaps, a little anxious about their writing… but I’ve found the best support, ideas and points of view come from sharing with friends – those who write and those who don’t. (Read this post to see why I think every writer needs a tribe)

G – Genre

Genres tend to come naturally based on personal likes and dislikes, but a lesson that’s stuck with me is that greater writing knowledge can come from reading other genres. Explore!

H – Head down!

There’s only ONE way to write a novel – put your head down and work, work, work!

I – Industry

I had a great opportunity to explore the industry this year via a well-attended conference. It was eye-opening, reassuring and comforting to meet people from the industry and hear about the way things work and how people come to be published. And, remember that publishing is filled with readers, publishers, marketing teams, illustrators, editors, etc! Meet and value everyone!

J – Journey

Oof! Isn’t that a corny word?! BUT your characters must go on a journey of some sort, be it physical travel and/or emotional growth. That’s the whole point of entertaining stories!

K – Know what you write

So the saying goes… but I also believe that you don’t need to stick to what you know as a strict rule. Instead interpret that to mean that you need to KNOW the subjects you write about inside and out. You can learn from scratch, research or undertake new experiences to write about once not-known topics.

L – Learn (classes and workshops)

I love learning! Every single time I’ve undertaken a new course or attended a workshop I have always, always, always walked away with some nugget of information that can make me a better writer/professional. Explore local and online courses or pick up a new writing/technique book.

M – Mentor

Like any other industry having a writing mentor is invaluable! Learn, discuss and appreciate your mentor.

N – Network

Meet new writers! I’ve met more aspiring and accomplished writers than I can keep track of this year! I love keeping in touch and hearing about their work-in-progress and likewise, appreciate having people around to reach out to when I need it.

O – Observe

Sit, watch and observe everyone and everything around you. I travelled to Byron Bay multiple times for my manuscript and the best nuggets of knowledge came from just sitting and immersing myself in the local environment.

P – Publishers

Hey, publishers, sign me up! Ok, jokes aside, you want to know what I’ve learnt about publishers – they’re not that scary, they’re not that brutal and they WANT new writers! They’ll work with you, not brick-wall you, and if you get a rejection they mostly want you to try again!

Q – Question is plot

Simply put, most plots and/or character development comes down to a key question: What do they want? When you answer that you can start to play with what happens in the story to get that goal (or not!).

R – Research

I’ve come to love research. At first I couldn’t wait to just get to my laptop, but I’ve found the more I research, the easier the writing becomes. Don’t shy away from researching, even things that don’t end up in the book but give yourself knowledge and confidence.

S – Social Media

Having a profile is a great tool to get in the habit of ‘being social’ online. That means networking, engaging and sharing via the different platforms. Building your profile before you publish is important, it’s a way to show you’re willing to work on social media, because you will have to promote your own book.

T – The End

If you keep writing, working and applying yourself then you will get to write those beautiful words, ‘The End’.

U – Unusual is juicy

Don’t write about the ordinary, mundane, everyday stuff… elevate the entertainment factor of your story – throw in quirky habits, unusual lifestyles, different personalities — and make it a gripping, enthralling read!

V – Very

For some reason a lesson that sticks in my head is to think of another word to ‘very’. Apparently this is a lazy/easy way to write but thinking of grander words is a better way to write. I’m sure ‘very’ has its place…

W – Watch

Don’t think knowledge and learning just comes form books, watch movies, listen to podcasts and open yourself up to seeing how stories unfold via different mediums.

X – e(X)amine people

Haha! Ok, so X is hard, but examining real life humans – people you know, actors, TV presenters, etc — can be interesting. When creating characters break down what it means to be a human – physical characteristics, habits, personalities, faith, etc.

Y – You

Remember that you are doing this for you. If you want to write, go for it. If you need a break, take it.

Z – Zone in

Focus, dedication, being ‘in the zone’ whatever you want to call it, it’s important. Be protective of your writing time and writing space. Zone in and do it!

So, that’s my A-Z of writing! Thank you for reading this and any other blog posts that have grabbed your attention — I hope you’ve gotten something out of it! I look forward to being back in 2020 with some great posts (ideas have already been jotted down!) and some new initiatives I have for social media.

Merry Christmas!

J x

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