Giving yourself permission to write

Due to a common misconception that unless you are a published novelist, you cannot be considered a 'real' writer, novice authors often find it difficult to convince either their nearest and dearest or, indeed, themselves that their desire to write should be taken seriously.

However, even the most famous authors had to start somewhere, so don't be put off by outside pressures. Be assured that your writing is more important than:

♦ washing the dishes

♦ cleaning, dusting, gardening or any other similar activity that will keep you from your pen and paper.

Locking the door

One successful Mills & Boon author states that, once she had made up her mind to become a novelist, she turned one room of her house into a study, locked the door and forbade anyone to enter whilst she was working.

You may not feel you have to go quite this far but it is important to set aside both a space in your home where you can work and make a regular time to write.

Making time

Lack of time is, perhaps, the most commonly used excuse for not putting pen to paper. This can be justified with a number of perfectly credible explanations:

♦ You have a demanding full-time job.

♦ You have to get those seedlings planted.

♦ You have too many other commitments.

Perhaps all these excuses can be rolled into one simple explanation:

♦ You don't think you're good enough. Building confidence

Lack of confidence is a major stumbling block for the would-be writer. There is no easy way round this but if you really want to write, the only option is to get on and do it. Taking the following steps can help:

♦ Set aside a corner in your home solely for your writing.

♦ Keep a notebook in which to jot down ideas.

♦ Select a suitable time to write each day and stick to it.

♦ Give yourself a time limit for writing, say, an hour a day to begin with.

♦ Write something every day and even if you think it's terrible, retain it until the next day.

♦ Begin by re-reading what you wrote yesterday; at the very least it will encourage you to rewrite. At best, it will be much better than you thought and spur you on to write more.

♦ Buy a good dictionary and thesaurus.

♦ Manuscripts intended for publication must be typewritten so, if possible, use a personal computer (PC). The more professional your writing looks, the more professional you will feel.

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