Monday, 25 April 2016

“Dear me”: 6 things I wish I’d known before writing my book

Dear Corrie,

It’s you! From the future! On the brink of publication. Except you have no idea. I’m watching you right now: the doubt clouds your eyes as you stare at the blank page in front of you. You glance at the ‘Keep Going’ print above your desk; then at the clock on the wall (yep, you’re picking your son up from nursery in an hour). Listen up to what I’ve learnt, and know that I’ve got your back.

1. When people ask what you do, look them in the eye and repeat after me: I’m a writer. Don’t mumble when you’re explaining that you don’t have a publisher yet. Don’t apologise for taking a risk; don’t feel embarrassed. Guess what: there is a hundred per cent chance you will fail to get a book deal if you don’t write a book. Getting published doesn’t make you a writer; it makes you a published writer. So, start writing.

2. You know that Abraham Lincoln quote you like to trot out: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Dude, stop taking it so literally. Sure, those how-to-write-a-novel books help, but the past three months you’ve spent devouring a whole bookcase-full? That was time better spent writing. There’s a reason a group of writers is called a ‘procrastination’ (actually, I made that up, but it should be). So, start writing.

3. Get on social media. The Twitter account that still says you’re the Assistant Editor of GLAMOUR. Update it. The Facebook profile you haven’t changed for a year. Do it. Join GoodReads and Instagram. Start connecting with people. Don’t wait for your agent to tell you off (and, yes! You have an agent!)

4. Ha ha! That romantic notion you have that says you can’t write until Lady Inspiration wafts down from the clouds and settles on your shoulder? Total bullshit. You don’t have time to wait for her. You’re picking your son up in an hour, remember? Inspiration happens when you sit down and write. It really is that simple. Start bloody writing.

5. The first paragraph you wrote, the one you edited fifteen times before slamming your head down on your desk? Move on. It’s shit. It won’t even make it into the second draft. While I’m at it: the first ten thousand words you are about to write in the third-person? You’ll bin those in a couple of weeks. First-person works better. But don’t panic. Keep writing.

6. You’ll get bored. You’ll get lonely. You’ll wonder how you’ve gone from the buzz of a glossy fashion magazine to the tumbleweed of your tiny office. You’ll stare at the computer wondering how you got here, and if it’s too late to stop. Yes, it’s too late. But soon, the very next page in fact, you’ll write something that makes your heart sing and you’ll realise this is exactly where you should be.

Love, Corrie

Corrie Jackson is the author of Breaking Dead, published in eBook 21st April 2016, Twenty7 Books, £4.99.

You can find more information about Corrie Jackson on her website.
Follow her on Twitter @corriejacko.  
Find her on Facebook.

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