Welcome to my page dedicated to anyone who's always wanted to write a novel, but didn't know where to start. I'll post a tip each day from my book YOUR PERSONAL FICTION-WRITING COACH: 365 Days of Motivation & Tips to Write a Great Book! and then, I want to hear from you:  Like the Personal Fiction-Writing Coach FB page and leave a comment to let me and your fellow writers know if the day's tip or writing exercise resonates with you and your project. Grab your writing pals and send them over, too!

Read this first.

So you want to be a writer? Or maybe you’re already a writer, but can’t seem to get that novel written? Or you’ve written a few books, but the thrill is gone. Is there a trick, you wonder, to writing a great book, or even finishing a so-so book? Why, yes—there are three tricks, actually, that veteran writers like me keep top secret (shhhh!):

  1. Get started already.
  2. Clunk through it.
  3. Find ways not to stop until you get to The End.

The list probably isn’t the romantic, idealistic answer you were hoping for, but I wrote this book with the idea of dispensing daily inspiration to get you to think about your story—and to write. Because I know from experience your motivation will give out before your imagination will. This book is structured to ease you through the life-cycle of creating a full-length novel, from broad stroke advice and self-evaluating questions, to more specific tips when you get to the planning and writing stages. I’ve also included pitfalls to avoid, lessons I’ve learned and techniques to help you manage your writing time.

If you like guarantees, writing isn’t for you. That said, if you write a novel and put it out into the universe, I guarantee you will:

  • Learn a lot about yourself along the way. (Are you funny? Mean? Truthful? Brave?)
  • Be fulfilled in a way only other writers can comprehend. (It’s intoxicating.)
  • Change the world some. (Something that wasn’t there before, suddenly will be.)

And that’s cool. Ready? Let’s do this. ~

This daily serial will run through December 31. Each day's writing tip or exercise will be posted for 24 hours, 4am Eastern to 4am Eastern. Set a reminder on your calendar, fridge, or phone so you don't miss a single day of advice to get your novel finished!  (For general writing advice and to find out how I sold my first book, check out my Writers Q&A page.)

224. Visualization

Professional athletes and self-help gurus evangelize visualization techniques to increase the probability of an action/result occurring. One way I use visualization to help me improve a manuscript is to imagine the relationship I have with my characters, who are real to me, and the obligation I have to write a good story for them. I imagine the main character of my Body Movers mystery series, Carlotta Wren, sitting in the extra chair in my office, legs crossed, filing her nails. She says to me, "Okay, what next, Bond? Don't make me boring."

Or if I'm stuck on a manuscript—let’s say I’m having trouble with the sagging middle. I’ll skip ahead and write the cover letter to my editor: "I'm especially proud of the way I was able to keep the pacing tight in the middle of the story." And then I elaborate on what I did to keep it "tight." In other words, I pretend I've already worked out the problem. And in almost every case, in the midst of the pretending, I get an idea of how to do just that.

Another time in my career, I was hoping to sell a new series idea and I had in mind the amount of advance I wanted for it. So I created a mock-up check made out to me in that amount and posted it on my computer. It motivated me when I wrote the pitch for the series and later, when my agent and I negotiated the deal. The outcome? I was offered a tad more than the check I’d written to myself and to this day, I don’t think it would’ve happened if I hadn’t first visualized it.

Q:  Do you have any experience with visualization?  Share on Facebook.

Check back tomorrow for the next tip from
365 Days of Motivation & Tips to Write a Great Book!
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