There are just a handful of authors who make it to the big time and enjoy the heights of household-name fame, where consumers will buy a book when they see it just because their name is on the cover. British novelist Roald Dahl and romance writer Danielle Steel are two of this elite group, and thankfully for us novices, they’ve been willing to share their wealth of knowledge and give advice to newbies on how best to tackle a writing challenge ahead. Read on for their best advice!
Have a lively imagination – Roald Dahl
If you’ve ever opened a Roald Dahl book, you’ll know that he had an extremely active imagination that seemed to result in a never-ending wealth of ideas, characters, and storylines. Even if you don’t feel that this comes as naturally to you as it did for Dahl, nurture your imagination by indulging yourself in new experiences and new places where you can to stimulate idea generation and free thinking.
Stay committed – Danielle Steel
Before she hit the ‘big time’ as an author, Danielle wrote for up to five hours a day – while still working full time. Now, of course, she’s writing full time, but it was that initial commitment and hard work that helped her reach the level she enjoys today. Even if you have a million and one other responsibilities and things to do (and who doesn’t?), try to make time to sit down and just write, whether it’s idea brainstorming, character development work, or actual storytelling.
Re-write, again and again – Roald Dahl
Once you’ve finished writing your book, read through it and make any changes needed. It’s up to you whether or not you do this section by section or by editing the entire thing, but either way, it needs to happen. Sometimes we become blind to our own work, and the typos, and need to set the book aside for a few weeks before we can ‘see’ it again. Dahl re-wrote his books over and over again until he could no longer find fault in the writing, but if you don’t have the time or patience to do this, hand it over to someone else for a second opinion before your final polish.
If it helps, stick to a routine – Danielle Steel
When you find an environment that’s conducive to free thinking and quick pen (or keyboard) results, stick to it! Danielle prefers writing in the evening and during the night when she feels at her most peaceful and is unlikely to be distracted. She also always chooses to sit at a desk, where she can focus on just the task ahead and feels like there’s a job to be done. Everyone’s different, of course, so you may have other preferences, but when you find a combination that works for you, stay with it and witness your creativity flow!
It’s not easy being a blossoming writer, but there’s no one better to take advice from than those already at the top of the game. Give each of the above a go, and use whatever works for you.