So, you’re getting ready to write your novel. Whether this is your first book or your tenth – here’s a handy list of things to do before you even begin putting words on the page!
1.) Outline Your Novel
Often times when I hear writers ask, “I don’t know what should happen next” My question is, “Did you outline your novel?”
Having an outline – whether it be detailed or not – can really help you keep on track. Knowing what happens beforehand will keep you motivated, and prevent you from suffering the dreaded writers block. It’s easier to sit down for a writing session and know where to take the story, rather than sit for an hour and wonder what happens next.
If you’re not an outliner, this might not work for you, and that’s okay. Everyone has a different method of writing their novels. If you don’t like to outline, it may help to just known the story beats of your novel, too. Check out Save the Cat! Writes a Novel to get a good idea on how to learn story beats.
2.) Know Your World (And Your Rules)
Every fictional world has a set of rules. There’s certain limits to a magic system, or certain rules within the government control that can’t be broken. Whatever it is – it’s important to know the rules within your world and how they work together.
Let’s take Harry Potter, for example. In the world of Harry Potter, people born who can do magic are known as “witches” and “wizards”. People who cannot do magic are known as “muggles”, and children born from muggles who have magic are known as “mudbloods”. Those born to magical parents, but unable to do magic, are known as “squibs”.
This is a perfect example of knowing your world. It’s important to know who can do magic and who cannot, and why that is. JK Rowling went so far to create an entire government based in her world of Harry Potter, known as the Ministry of Magic. Knowing your world, and the rules of the world, and how they work together can ground your story and make it feel more real.
If you want a more in-depth look at how JK Rowling created the rules for her Harry Potter universe, check out this page here.
3.) Organize Your Writing Space
It’s important to keep a clean writing space. Having a clean writing space will not only keep you free of distractions, but also keep you tempted from cleaning up. You’ll be able to focus more clearly on what’s in front of you, than what’s around you.
When I’m outlining, it’s always messy around me. Books and papers are littered everywhere. But when it’s time to write, I make sure my desk is neat and organized.
4.) Make an Aesthetic
Making an aesthetic is a favorite of many writers. Finding pictures that capture the atmosphere of your characters and world is a great way to not only keep yourself motivated, but to see what kind of imagery you’re going for with your novel.
It’s a great way to get a feel for your world, or what your characters interests and personalities are like.
I find all my pictures for my aesthetics on Pinterest, and even create different boards for all my ideas! I use Canva to edit the pictures together!
(*All pictures found on Pinterest. Credit goes to all artists. I do not own these images).
5.) Make a Playlist
Many writers love using music as an inspiration, myself included. Similar to an aesthetic, create a playlist of songs that really capture the atmosphere of your world, characters, or specific scenes. Play them as you write or just to keep yourself immersed in that world.
6.) Stop Procrastinating
This might be the hardest one yet! It can be so difficult for writers to sit down and begin their novels. There’s so much self-doubt and fear that goes into writing a book, and sitting down to write only makes those doubts even worse.
But the important thing to remember is that if you have a dream, no one else can make that dream come true but you. You will eventually have to sit down and do the work. But by utilizing all these tips above, it can be much easier to dive into the work, and enjoy the act of writing your novel.
Do you use any of these tips before writing your novels? Let me know!
XOXO – Devon