The Best Advice I Have
People often ask me for writing advice, and I’ve said a number of things in the past (mostly about how you should read more than you write and you should ask better writers than me for advice).
But here’s actually the best piece of advice I have for aspiring novelists: Just get to the end. Keep putting words in front of each other, hammering out sentences the best you can, until you reach the end. There’s no real way to tell if it’s any good as you’re writing, particularly since every one of my books has been vastly improved and are sometimes dramatically different after the editing phase.
So just keep going. Get all the words out on the page, in as close to the right order as you can manage. Once it’s finished, then you can sort of it’s any good. (It also helps to have several trusted and experienced sets of eyes going over it after you’re done). And it might not be any good. Most first books aren’t. But if you keep going, putting the words out there, it just keeps getting easier to do it. You figure out what your voice is and what you want to say.
It never gets truly easy, but it does get better. All my books still require more stops and starts and banging my head on the desk than I care do admit. But it is easier now to finish a book than it was the first time I finished a book over ten years ago.
Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to getting the words out. You just have to do it. Butt in chair. Fingers on the keys. Slap words on paper until you get out the story you want (or as close to as you can).
Then, relax, take a deep breath, and prepare to hack up beloved novel to make it better through edits.