Top 10 writing tips

Though I've written nine novels in the last nine years, I realise I’m at the beginning rather than the end of a long process. Every day is another lesson. Here are some of mine:

1: Have a plan – Imagination and technique are wonderful things, but they lean heavily on plot, schedules, research and deadlines.

2: Set a daily target – Whether 100 or 1000 words, establish a default amount you can realistically produce. Then every day is a day closer to completion.

3: Develop a ritual – Same time, same chair, same cup… whatever it takes to make sitting down easier.

4: Write for a purpose – writing just to write is like chewing gum. What do you want to achieve in today’s 100-1000 words?

5: Be patient – Novels take months or years. Look only at your feet and take small steps.

6: Never look back – Your best writing is what you’re going to do today.

7: Deviate from the plan – Ideas develop, so go with them if they feel right.

8: Be brutal – No one knows better than you what’s wrong, though it kills you to accept as much

9: Let it go – It will never be perfect. Do your best and move on.

10: Think ahead – Every book suggests another book. What’s yours?

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