Bee's ten tips for writing alongside The Novelry.

Oct 08, 2017

I graduated from Creative Writing at London South Bank University a couple of academic years ago now, and what I got out of it was a first class degree, a complete, ready for publication collection of poetry that I’m never going to do anything with, and the feeling that I was just kind of done with writing.

I took a break and quit my freelance writing career to work full time in a café and clear my head of all these negative feelings I had about writing after my course was over. Now I’ve decided that, of course, writing is my passion and my little special gift I’ve been given by God or my mother or whoever, and I know that that’s what I want to do with my life.

I decided recently to pick up creative writing again and try and get a novel finished, along with the help of Louise Dean who runs The Novelry, an online course for serious writers which offers an amazing plan where you can write the first draft of a novel in 90 days!

I wanted to share with you 10 things that I feel I’ve gotten out of this plan that I didn’t get out of my three-year degree course.

  1. GOOD WRITERS WRITE EVERY DAY
    I think maybe I should have just assumed this but we never got told this on my degree course! If we did, it went in one ear and out the other. The MOST important thing you can do as a writer, according to Kritikme, is to be present at the page every single day, even if it’s mostly wank or you’ve written barely anything.
  2. THE EXACT IMPORTANCE OF READING. We had set texts at uni but I don’t think it ever really dawned on me that I should have actually read them! Louise says the most fool proof method is to write in the morning and read in the evening. The perfect balance to keep you creative.
  3. NOVELS DON’T NEED TO BE DAUNTING OR TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE I never thought I would be able to get a first draft out in 90 days, but you definitely can if you put your mind to it and follow The Novelry plan. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fully formed idea in your head, all you need to do is start and keep going. If you’re invested in the story, the rest of it will come to you as you’re going along.
  4. YOU NEED TO GET INTO A RHYTHM THAT WORKS FOR YOU Louise says the golden hour for writing is 5am, but sometimes I’m already on my way to work by then! I need so much sleep to function and I guess my phase delay must be still going strong because I’m writing this very blog post at 10pm, creative guns blazing. It’s all about trial and error and finding what works for you. That being said, if I write 1,000 words as soon as I get up in the morning, it really sets me up for the day.
  5. YOU CAN WRITE WHO YOU KNOW AND WHAT YOU KNOW. At uni we were always taught to expand our horizons and not write about the same old characters and things we enjoy writing about. I absolutely love my characters and they’re based on people I know in real life, and Louise says that’s more than okay! If you’re invested in them and their stories, the reader will be too.
  6. YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU’RE WRITING Leading on from my last point, you need to believe that what you’re writing is good and you need to be passionate about it. Writing something you think others will enjoy but you secretly hate isn’t going to do you any favours. Delete that document gurl.
  7. SUCCESS AS A WRITER DOESN’T COME FROM BEING PUBLISHED. We had lessons at uni on how to get an agent and how to get published and how to become a waitress while you’re waiting for your big break, but no one ever really talked about how the important part of writing is that you’re growing as a writer with every sentence. It’s not all about pitches and cover letters, it’s about letting writing become a part of you.
  8. A TIDY ROOM IS A TIDY MIND. Before I started even planning my novel, I followed the Kritikme plan and made sure I had a lovely, clean, minimalist space to work in – my bedroom. It does a world of good when it comes to getting out of bed, sitting down at my desk and just bashing out some words. I don’t think I would be able to write at all now if there were piles of laundry on the floor or an unmade bed.
  9. PLAYLISTS ARE IMPORTANT! One of the things I love about Louise is that she recommends songs when she teaches about writing, either to convey what she means or to provoke emotion. Songs are obviously a form of writing of course, so they’re really important to my creative process. I now have writing playlists for Monday morning deadlines and rainy Sunday afternoons and everything in between, and they all help me get lost in the world of my novel.
  10. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO COST £50K AND TAKE THREE YEARS TO GET A DECENT TUTOR I’m trying not to feel bitter about this one, but if only I’d known I didn’t need to rack up almost £50k worth of debt to become a better writer!

 


"The Novelry is this amazing online course in novel writing set up by author Louise Dean, which as well as offering general advice, support and one to one novel writing meetings also offers the Ninety Day Novel which gives one the kick up the ass they might need to write the first draft of their novel in just 90 days. 90 days might not seem like a lot of time to write about 70,000 words, but once you get going with it and write daily then the goal doesn’t seem so far out of reach. It’s definitely doable even if you have a full-time job – you just have to be willing to put the time and effort in and follow the daily lessons that guide you every step of the way.

My favourite part is the Inspiration Phase right at the beginning where you’re given all the tools and inspiration you need to get started. It really gave me a whole new sense of creative writing purpose that I desperately needed after a year out of the game and it made me really pumped to start the course. If you’re thinking of giving it a go, definitely do not skimp on this phase as I would say it is probably the most important part of the entire course.

Once I got further into the course I just felt spurred on to push even harder to do even more – by the middle of the 90 days I was right into the swing of things and writing for an hour a day, coming into work early to make sure my words for the day were done. The daily lessons helped me keep on track and refocus my writing when I needed it – knowing that you’re not alone in the process is one of the biggest incentives to keep going even when the going gets tough.

An invaluable part of the course is the one to one chat with Louise – these probably helped me to stay on track and better my writing more than any other part of the course. Where else would you be able to speak to an award-winning writer face to face about nothing except your own work? Louise is such an amazing writer and a wise and lovely person and I definitely wouldn’t be the writer I am today without her course and her individual advice – something I love about The Novelry is that you can tell she’s really passionate about what she does and what you do, she really cares about your work and your creativity and she really wants to see you succeed.

Everyone has a novel inside of them. If you’ve been meaning to do something creative or write a novel or you’ve had an idea you’ve wanted to try out for ages, just go for it! I honestly feel like I’ve learnt more from The Novelry than I have from my creative writing degree. I never thought that I had the first draft of a novel in me or that I would ever have the patience to actually write it, but I’m so, so glad I did. As the new year approaches there really isn’t a better time to make a start on your novel. Imagine completing that New Year’s resolution you’ve put off for decades in just the first 90 days of the year!

I honestly just can’t stress to you enough how much The Novelry has changed my life. It’s given me confidence, skill, passion and a piece of work to be proud of, and every budding novel writer deserves all that."

 

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