by Jay Donnelly
You might think that writing your first novel is as easy as sitting down at your desk and simply getting on with it. While that is largely true, you will also find that you will need some other important items to help you get through all that work. After all, most novels clock in at between 70,000 and 90,000 words, which will take a lot of days in front of your laptop. You will really benefit from investing in a few handy items and some useful equipment that can make the whole writing process a lot easier for you. Plus, some of things will help keep your motivation as high as possible throughout the whole writing process.
So, what really helps an author when they are getting to grips with their very first novel? We’ve compiled this handy list to help you out. If you are an aspiring author, you could really do with the following items.
A Trusty Laptop
Probably the most important thing you own, your laptop needs to be highly reliable. After all, you don’t want to write a large chunk of your book only to find that your laptop then crashes and you lose your work. That is every writer’s worst nightmare!
So, be sure to invest in a good quality laptop that you know will serve you well for long periods of your writing career. You probably won’t want to keep on replacing the computer every couple of years as that will prove to be expensive, so try and find a machine that will have a fairly long life. Most writers tend to use Apple Macs because they have an exceptional reputation and are known to last for quite a few years before needing to be replaced.
Getting stoked to finish chapter 13. I think I got the right dialogue reveal, finally, and it took a trip to South Africa to excavate it. Stay tuned for the rhino siting. And zebras! . . Showing these pics to my daughter may be like, Where’s Waldo. A wee round rump in the distance is obviously the hippo… . Writing tip offering for Monday: Shock yourself into inspiration. . . #writerlife #writerslife #writingtips #writersofinstagram #funnydads #cafe #coffee #indieauthor #bookstagram #publishing #southafrica
A Good Agent
As a new writer, you will no doubt have a lot of questions about the steps to publishing success and how to get a book deal. Even though there is a lot of excellent information about all of this online, it can also be highly useful to get an agent who can represent you. They will be able to tell you everything that you need to know about getting a book deal and publishing a book.
Once you have an agent, you will also find that it is easier to land a deal as they will have a lot of contacts in the publishing world. However, first you need to find an agent who would be willing to represent you. You need to send some of your writing off to one with a cover letter. If they like what they read, then they will agree to represent you and help you on your journey to getting published.
Unfortunately, though, you need to remember that this is an incredibly tough with competition, so you need to prepare yourself for lots of rejection before you finally get signed by someone.
For years I was the one ‘writing a book’.
People asked, ‘Published yet?’
I had to admit that no one was interested.
Years and years…
Others gave up.
The important thing is that I didn’t.
If you’re struggling now, keep writing, find your way through #writingtips
— Eleni Hale (@EleniHale) May 17, 2018
Scrivener Or A Similar Writing Software
Many writers find it difficult to keep track of their novel writing. That’s because they don’t tend to write in a chronological order; instead, they will jump around and write chapters in the order that they feel like. After a while, you might struggle to keep your manuscript organized, and you might even lose track of certain ideas and themes.
So, it’s worth investing in a writing software, such as Scrivener. This is kind of like Microsoft Word, but it has been created with writers in mind. You need to pay for it, but you will find that it helps to keep track of your paragraphs whenever you write them out of order. It also makes it easier for you to search your manuscript during the editing process.
Encouraging Friends And Family
Writing a novel can be just like running a marathon. It takes a long time and will be a big test of your endurance. Sure, you won’t get as sweaty or as physically exhausted as you would if you were running a marathon, but it is still a big test of your mental ability. And, just like with a marathon, you will need lots of people cheering you on.
So, it’s always a good idea to let your friends and family know that you have started writing a manuscript that will hopefully be published. They will then be able to motivate and encourage you, especially during those times when writing gets really tough and you just want to give up. Rally around the troops to cheer you on and celebrate when you reach writing milestones, and you will never give up on your novel!
A Beady Eye
Of course, getting a novel published isn’t just about writing it. You need to be prepared to thoroughly edit it a few times as well. In fact, some authors have to go through a few rounds of rewrites before their manuscript is ready to be sent to a publishers. Ideally, you should carry out any obviously needed rewrites and edits before you send the manuscript off to an agent or a publisher.
So, as you can probably tell then, it’s important you have a beady eye that can pick up on any big mistakes, such as spelling and grammar errors. The more errors and typos you are able to pick up on and edit out in the early stages, then the easier you will find it to get signed to an agent or a publisher. After all, you won’t impress anyone with a subpar manuscript!
Tasty Snacks And Drinks On Hand
If you have some snacks to keep nibbling on while you write, you might find that they help you get the creative juices flowing! So it’s always a good idea to have some nuts, fruit, or another healthy snack option on your desk to keep your energy levels up. Be sure to drink plenty of water too as good fluid levels will help you concentrate more and to stay focused.
Hopefully, all of these items above can help you get your first novel published!
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
One thing I could add (from bitter personal experience) is to back up your manuscript file–whether to the Cloud, rewritable optical media, a flash drive, anything–after the end of each writing session even if you’ve only added a few words or made a few small changes. After recently installing (or rather, having had installed against my will) a major W10 update, my computer wouldn’t recognize my password, start any app, or do anything beyond sticking that ******* spinning circle in my face. I ended up having to replace the hard drive and reinstall W10. Luckily, I had a not-too-outdated Word file of my novel on another machine and was able to reconstruct it from that. Maybe I can save someone out there a major headache.
Oh no! What a terrible experience, Ross! So sorry you went through that. That could be the worst common experience there is. Losing work because it didn’t save is the worst!
That it is, Dan, especially when it takes so little time to backup vis-a-vis struggling to reconstruct the manuscript later. It will be a good month before that machine is back to its old self again. Just a word to the wise….