How to Write Your First Novel

14 August, 2019 § Leave a comment

When you want advice on how to write, it’s hard to filter through the dross. Everyone’s suddenly an expert on the internet, even if all they’ve ever written is a shopping list.

If you want to learn well, learn from those who have done what you want to do.

I’d never heard of Scott Sigler.

He’s not world-famous. His name doesn’t drop off your lips when you talk about contemporary writers. But he’s written ten books, five of which were published by Random House. So I’ll take my hat off, pull up a chair and listen to what he has to say.

Even better, he’s not selling anything! Isn’t that refreshing?

Here are his steps:

  1. Write every day (everyone who’s anyone says the same thing, but are you doing it?)
  2. Learn to finish a novel by writing your first book – it’ll be very ordinary but get it done
  3. Put that book away for six months – let it percolate in your desk drawer uninterrupted
  4. Start writing your next book – it’ll already be better than the first attempt
  5. When your six months are up, pull out that first book and read it – where is it weak? fix those weaknesses

Watch the full 11:55 minutes for the details. He presents well – an easy listen but keep your pen and paper handy.

13 Steps to Writing a Book – Jerry Jenkins

15 July, 2019 § Leave a comment

When you want advice on writing a book, it pays to get it from someone who has done it before. Jenkins has penned over 190 books (not a misprint!) and reached the NYT bestseller list 21 times. That’s someone you need to listen to.

Much of what he has to say is not new – but of course, every aspiring writer is already doing all these activities, yes? No. Which is why the basics need repeating.

Jenkins delivers these steps in an easy-to-take-in way with a gentle manner and minimal fluff. He gives clear examples of what he refers to.

Grab a pen, some paper and your favourite beveredge. Switch on the video stream and take notes. Then, apply.

What Makes You Write?

10 December, 2013 § 4 Comments

Hard to believe, I know, but not everyone feels compelled to write.

Yeah. I don’t get that either. Still, each to their own.

For those who do have an insatiable and unstoppable urge to write, the question becomes … why?

I was fortunate enough to hear a few authors talking about their journey to being published and was fascinated to find that most differed in what caused them to become published.

One such person was Steve Bisley. Steve is a knockabout Aussie actor who was raised in a typical ordinary Australian family. As an actor he has enjoyed a modestly successful but consistent career in television and on stage. He admitted that as an actor, one is always interpreting the words and works of others. It got to the stage where he decided to have a bash and write his own story.

As often happens, his first novel was autobiographical in nature in the sense that it was a rollicking recollection of stories from his childhood. He admits to never having a diary or anything but his own memory as a keen observer of life. He recalled an image and wrote it out. Steve took time out from acting to write and set a discipline of writing in longhand daily from 8.30 am and then typing it into Word. If he didn’t follow that discipline he feared the book would ‘go on’ and never be finished.

He did indeed finish, was published, and is now writing his next book. Interestingly he thought writing was tough doing his first book. Now he realises that was easy because he just had to resell his life’s stories. In his new venture, he is finding it much harder as it’s not autobiographical at all.

Steve wrote to express himself in a new creative way rather than being a vehicle for others voices. He is learning a whole new way of being in his mature years and is stimulated as well as humbled by the whole process.

Here’s a quote I grabbed from his talk that I believe is so true.


How To Write a Book in 2 Minutes

1 June, 2013 § Leave a comment


I was testing out how fast I could produce a video. Turns out … fast!

In this really quick 2 minute video I cover off the four key elements to writing a book

  1. what’s the big idea?
  2. create a plan
  3. scope out the book
  4. write!

And you’re done!

Obviously there is a lot more to writing a book but essentially these are the key elements.

How to be a writer

23 October, 2011 § 4 Comments

If you want a no-holds-barred look at writing, check out Scott’s post here:


My view?

Anyone can write. There’s never been more opportunity for people to freely express themselves. Why, even blogs are built around writing and publishing – and millions do it for free.

The questions are:

    Have you got something to write about?
    What action are you taking to do it?
    When will you finish?

Trillions of words are written daily. Whether those words make coherent sense, whether they inform or educate or entertain, and whether they add a new perspective or approach will largely determine how well read those words will be. To start writing it helps to know what you want to say, who is likely to read your writing and how interested they might be. Set out knowing what you want to achieve at least broadly.

As Scott stated, unless you do something, nothing will happen. Perfectionism is a curse and prevents many from ever getting started. It certainly prevents anyone from finishing because no writing is perfect. None. The key to writing is … to write. Experts like Julia Cameron recommend developing the habit of writing. Write daily. By doing that, you get clearer on what you want to say and by exercising your writing muscle daily, you get better at it.

So much of what I read about writing focuses on getting started. That’s the easy part. Rewriting and editing and knowing when it’s in a shape to release to the world is the hard part. For every book published there are thousands more languishing as half written concepts gathering dust. Start writing with the end in mind. Have an idea of what your end-product will look like. And, if you’re game, set yourself a deadline with milestones along the way.

If you’re someone who feels they want to write, has wanted to write for a long time … get over it. Switch your thinking.

You are already a writer.

If you want to a published author, it’s easier now than ever. Consider yourself a writer first and then work towards being a published author.

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