21 Tips for Writing a Novel

…from someone who’s never written an entire novel before.

As I’m currently in the midst of Camp NaNoWriMo, (where you attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month) I thought it would be fitting to write a ridiculous advice post based on writing a novel. Because writing a novel is hard. Really hard. Ridiculously, unbelievably hard.

So, I’ve put together a few terrible novel-writing “tips” so you can be as good average rubbish as I am at making stories happen. And so I could avoid looking at the atrocious twenty-thousand words I’ve written so far. Enjoy!

My laptop, tiny to-do list sticky note and The Little Book of Hygge arranged on a white sheet.
I hope you like this weirdly taken photo of part of my laptop and a book that I was 100% never reading while my laptop was open. just close your eyes and imagine it’s totes Instagram worthy.

1. Stare at a blank Microsoft Word document for three hours.

2. Spend four hours scrolling through Facebook, regularly pausing to laugh at funny videos of pandas.

3. Make yourself a snack. Make yourself another snack.

4. Click save a thousand times so you don’t lose the nothing you’ve written.

5. Buy a typewriter in the hope that its magical powers will turn you into a writing machine.

6. Buy a fancy new laptop in the hope that it’s magical powers will turn you into a writing machine.

7. Eat an entire sharing bag of chocolate buttons. Do no writing whatsoever.

8. Imagine your six-figure book deal for your non-existent book.

9. Read a good book. Realise you could never possibly write anything as brilliant as said book. Wallow in sadness.

10. Realise how terrible your plot is. Decide you’ll start writing as soon as you sort your plot out.

11. Realise how hard it is to plot your novel. Avoid doing it for as long as possible.

12. Spend four hours scrolling through Twitter, singing Sean Paul songs as the top of your voice. Consider a career in singing.

13. Set yourself stupidly unrealistic word count goals. Be sad when you fail.

14. Check your word count. Check it again. Check it again.

15. Imagine your non-existent book being turned into a movie.

16. Imagine your non-existent book being turned into a movie starring Helena Bonham-Carter.

17. Scroll through the #CampNaNoWriMo hashtag, wishing your last Twitter post was also about how successful you are, instead of being about how much chocolate you’ve eaten today.

18. Force yourself to write whatever comes into your head. Realise it’s terrible, delete every word and cry.

19. Spend four hours scrolling through Instagram, singing Sean Paul songs at the top of your voice.

20. Delete everything in your Word document because it is utterly terrible and would never be published by anyone.

21. Stare at a blank Microsoft Word document for three hours.

 

…yeah, writing a novel is hard.

Have you ever written/tried to write a novel? Have you ever sang Sean Paul songs at the top of your voice to show your significant other how excellent you are at singing Sean Paul songs?

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11 Comments

  1. I’ve heard of Camp Nanowrimo but don’t know too much about it – is it similar to Nanowrimo? Only in a different month?

    Also I can totally relate to this! I haven’t been trying to write anything recently but it’s totally easy to get stuck at a certain part or just stop writing altogether because confidence levels was at an all time low :/ I’m sure you’re doing great! There are also these distraction-free writing tools or a tool that blocks the internet for a certain period of time. I haven’t tried them but they sounded helpful when needing to focus on something 😀

  2. I can totally relate to this but with me whenever I want to write a blog post XD. YES, STARE AT THE BLANK SCREEN FOR HOURS and do lots of stuff in between…… Only to have 0000 creative juices flowing around. Girl, you better treat yourself WHEN you get that six figure book deal ;).

    Sean Paul is the man though. Love his misheard lyrics XD. Though, despite all of this, you’re still trying to power through NaNoWriMo, so more power to you. The only song I know is Temperature…. 😉

  3. HAHA this is really entertaining! This is so relatable; I may not be writing a novel but I do experience the same things whenever I’m writing a blog entry! It takes me a really long time to think of anything and I just end up doing lots of things in between to find inspiration. Lol!

  4. Haha, this is me! I’ve been writing a YA fiction novel for the past 10 years and only have the opening, I guess you could call it a prologue. I doubt I’ll ever get around to finishing it.

  5. haha, this is a funny list! I totally do the same thing of constantly saving, whether it’s writing, something in Photoshop, or code. You just have to be sure, you know?? 😉

    I’ve never tried to write a novel, but I can relate to this list for other things, like trying to make a new design. I end up staring at a blank Photoshop file for so long and then trashing most of my efforts or realizing that the design in my head is actually terrible when implemented.

    Good luck on NaNoWriMo though!

  6. It can be. It really can be and I have all these ideas at how a scene would be but I can’t exactly describe or write it at all. The ideas are there but alas, no help XD This is a hilarious list, as if a magical typewriter will save you!

  7. This post was funny and real at the same time. I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, but that is a dream. I remember at some point I tried to come up with some characters and a plot and I gave up. Other time I wrote 2 pages and I realized that I am not a writer, I am a girl passionate of science, so I gave up.

  8. HAHAHA! This I can relate to, except this was all with my college papers and fanfic writing XD I’ve yet to attempt a novel in my adulthood, and at this rate, I don’t think I’ll ever attempt one. So much distraction, the lack of time, and no motivation pretty much sums up my novel-less life. Ah, this was a fun post, hahaha! XD Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  9. YES! TIME FOR ME TO QUIT MY JOB AND START MY NOVEL!!! XDDDD

    4. Click save a thousand times so you don’t lose the nothing you’ve written.

    Omg. Too real.
    I don’t even get how I was able to write so many fanfics back in school. It really doesn’t help that after my brain surgery, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to “daydream,” and I’ve developed mild Aphasia that makes it difficult for me to put my thoughts into words.

    Which is, you know, fatal as a writer. LOL. BUT ONE DAY!! ONE DAY!!!

  10. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo and failed 😭

    Tip #1 is DEFINITELY me all over. It’s so productive, haha.

    IF THESE TIPS AREN’T MY LIFE. AMY, ARE YOU IN MY BRAIN?!?! Hahaha, it is definitely difficult to write. You think, “Ah, yes! I shall in front of my blank Word doc and magic will pour out!” and it just doesn’t work that way.

    Honestly, I haven’t written anything in ages because I’ve been in such a slump but I’m back to the blogosphere now so I’m hoping with that my novel creating comes back too. I need to get my book DONE.

  11. “I hope you like this weirdly taken photo of part of my laptop and a book that I was 100% never reading while my laptop was open. just close your eyes and imagine it’s totes Instagram worthy.” LOL

    Since I met you last weekend I read your blog in your voice now, and you’re exactly the same <3 I LOVE it! Thanks for the 21 tips, I definitely feel like I could write a novel 😉

    "13. Set yourself stupidly unrealistic word count goals. Be sad when you fail."HAHAHHAHA inspired xD

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