Things I Learnt While Writing My First Novel

I feel like I have to write this post, for myself at least. I hope you find it interesting, and if you don’t you have my permission to stop reading. I learnt quite a bit while writing my novel. I’m going to try and list those that I think are important.

  • A regular writing habit was incredibly helpful. I was writing 1000 words a day, at near enough the same time every day. After I reached about half way through it was taking me about half an hour/ 40 minutes to get my 1000 words. I never ran out of ideas.
  • It helps to stop writing when I have ideas. If I wrote til I didn’t know what to write next, when I came back, it was hard to carry on. Once I had forced myself to stop with ideas left I carried on writing at a fast pace the next day.
  • Characters names are very easy to confuse and forget, which is the mark of a good writer. It also makes rereading painful.
  • I find plotting ahead useless. Near enough everything I had planned couldn’t happen by the time I got to that point for one reason or another.
  • Music really helps. I listened to Slash’s album, Apocalyptic Love, every time I started writing and was usually finished before the album finished. I still can’t listen to songs of that album without thinking of my book. It really helps me get back into the mood of writing. I don’t have a specific album for my new one, but Audio Secrecy by Stone Sour seems to be the lead candidate. I also had a playlist of random songs for editing that helped, but those songs are now associated with frustration and anger.
  • Editing is really really annoying (I already knew this. But I learnt it again and again.)
  • No matter how many hours, days and weeks I spent editing it was never finished. I just had to get it to a suitable level before the deadline. There are 2 errors in the print edition where there is no space between words. Someone else has pointed out other errors that are really unnoticeable but they were looking for them. (What a good advert for my book) I could have spent another year going over the book and it would never have been perfect. I also read a self-published book that has an error in the first line and several in the first paragraph so I know mine isn’t that bad. That same book also has a lot of very good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Making sure the cover fits and there is enough bleed takes a lot longer than I thought it would. My cover was rejected 7 days in a row. That was very annoying.

There are a few things I learnt while writing my first book. I’m sure I learnt more but I can’t remember them at the moment, which is useful.

Tomorrow’s post will be my thank yous to the people who helped along the way. This may be two posts, I’m not quite sure.

Thanks for reading,


About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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