Skip to main content

Six Months of Novel Writing Success

I am a professional teacher, writer, researcher, and learner. I always try to learn because there is no age for learning.

Novel Writing Success

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard the age-old advice to write every day. While this strategy can be effective in certain cases, it can also lead to trouble if you don’t manage your time effectively and find yourself with an unfinished book on your hands by the end of the year. Instead, try these six months of novel writing success tips, and see how much progress you can make in half the time.

Crop Author Writing

Planning Your Novel

There’s nothing worse than starting a novel and realizing that it’s nowhere near finished in six months. To make sure you don’t end up with unfinished manuscripts, it helps to have a plan. To begin, pick one type of story you want to write, say historical fiction or fantasy romance. Or maybe you plan to write an alternate history story about Abraham Lincoln as a time traveler who fights alongside Joan of Arc against a vampire invasion led by King Louis XI of France. It doesn’t matter what your idea is, but you need some focus for your writing so that you aren’t tempted to start projects without finishing them.

Getting into the Flow

In his book, The Artist’s Way, author and writing guru Julia Cameron points out that artists are often quite adept at getting into a zone when they work. A painter may sink into a meditative state while applying paint to canvas, while an author gets so caught up in her novel that she loses track of time. Get familiar with your ways of getting into the flow—whether it’s listening to music or taking a few moments to drink some coffee and stare out the window—and build time for these activities into your daily routine. It may be easier than you think.

Close up Paper

Staying Motivated When Things Aren’t Going Well

If you’re just starting your novel and things are slow-going, it can be hard to stay motivated. So when you’re getting frustrated by a draft that doesn’t seem to be coming together, use these tips to keep yourself on track and excited about your novel: First, remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. Second, recognize that drafting is an essential part of novel writing, so rather than looking at it as a hurdle or delay, embrace it. Third, have reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish each day; don't pressure yourself into believing that you must finish one thousand words per day to be successful. Finally—and most importantly—find a community where other writers support each other.

Scroll to Continue

Dealing with Procrastination

The most important step in any novel-writing program is committing to it. There’s no way around it: if you don’t know how to start writing a novel if you don’t sit down and make yourself write, it won’t happen. And as we’ve seen before, some people will put off starting that first page for years. But finishing a novel takes time; however long you think it takes (based on your past attempts), double that number. You need to set aside time every day—even when you have nothing else to do—to finish your book by your target date, even when what you want to do is watch TV or play video games.

Writer Working on Type writer

Staying Inspired During Your Journey

During your novel writing journey, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience some low points. If there’s one thing that I know about writers, it’s that they tend to make a lot of excuses—but they also have self-pity (which is sometimes used as an excuse). When either one gets in your way, your novel writing will be halted in its tracks. How do you keep going? Here are a few things to remember

Don’t forget about Editing!
Editing is just as important as drafting. Whether you plan to hire a professional editor or take on that role yourself, you’ll want to give your manuscript a good once-over before submitting it to agents or publishers. Good editing will help your book be accepted by an agent or publisher and help convince those people that they’re taking on a winning piece of work, so it’s well worth your time and effort. You can even hire editors online now if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.

Keeping Track of Your Progress

For some, quantifying their progress on a spreadsheet may be just as gratifying as making actual progress. If you’re one of those people, by all means, do it. But if not, consider using an app like Trello or Asana to keep track of your writing goals instead. (Just remember that sometimes a simple notebook can be more effective than fancy apps.) No matter what method you choose, make sure to review and update your goals frequently—every week or every month at least—to stay motivated and help you see your long-term success on paper.

Forty Rules of Love Novel

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

Related Articles