Originally when I wrote this episode I wanted to share some big tips beginner writer can take to start their novel. J wanted to share step by step how you can write your story And be successful at it. I had an outline of these big tips and was so excited to share them and help you jump-start your writing.
And then I listened to one of my favorite persons, Gillian. In kne of her YouTube videos she spoke about what she’ll do if she started over or had to start over. And one of the amazing tips was to create at least 5 to 7 pieces of content that focused on the mistakes and oopses in your particular industry.
And that got me thinking. What if instead of big beginner tips I did am episode on big beginner mistakes. Showing you some of the big mistakes even your favorite authors made at one time. So I looked at the content I had already planned out and get this, with a little tweaking I was able to take the same content and do a what not to do when you want to start your novel.
Now I say novel but really, this could go for that short story, fanfiction, flash fiction. Whatever story you want to write this episode is going to help you make some honest decisions and really take action to avoid these common beginner mistakes.
During this episode I will be sharing with you some big but common mistakes I see writers making when they want to write their story. And if im being truly transparent with you, some of these mistakes I made in the early days of writing my novels.
I also have a 10mintues tip for you that you can implement right after you listen to this podcast that will help you generate a tons of story ideas. And you know it’s not a epic episode if there isn’t a free resource for you. So stay tuned for that and how you can get access to that super helpful resource.
And one last thing. I’ll be talking about goals or rather lack there off. And there is a cool simple strategy I share with my students during coaching that helps them set goals and a strategy that they can implement immediately.
That is a lot of information we are going to be covering in this episode so let’s dive right in.
Looking for your big idea.
Newsflash guys, there isn’t any.
You may hear that to write a good novel you need a big original idea. If you Google how to write a novel, one of the first suggestions that come up in search is to find your big idea. And when writers hear or read something like that it’s like some misfires in our brains and we may get instant writers block.
You may think if Google says it then it must be true. And then you start searching the universe for the answer for this big idea. No guys.
The idea of original does not mean that you need to Create an out of this world experience for your audience. Unless you’re writing a sci-fi which is literally out of this world. But yu don’t need to come up with an idea that no one has ever heard of before.
You want to hear something that may not know. I’m dropping a truth bomb right now. There is am ancient saying that I really really love. And its something I keep recalling to mind everytime I start start new project or I find myself flustered. It’s says there is nothing new under the sun. You want me to repeat that. There is nothing new under the sun. Sevem beautiful words. Short concise and easy to remember but so massively impactful. There is nothing new under the sun. No original, brand new anything.
And knowing that right there will make the difference between someone who starts their novel and someone who is still waiting for that big idea.
And so you may ask if there is no original new idea out there, does it really make sense trying to find something that doesn’t exist?
does it make sense writing a story at all?
If you don’t answer that question with a mindset shift amd say yes, it still makes sense writing that stoty then just like that youre stuck. And I don’t want you to be. So I want you to pay particular attention to this next part.
Original and unique doesn’t apply to the idea. It actually applies to you. Let’s pause for a minute to let it sink in. I’ll will repeat that. Original and unique doesn’t apply to the idea. It actually applies to you. Its your voice, your perspective, your words.
Look at the Cinderella story. So many adaptations, so many viewpoints told in each author voice. Some were more enjoyable than others. My favorite Cinderella story was Ever After. At the time it was a new perspective on the story, at least I’m my viewpoint. And guess what? They didn’t reinvent the wheel and neither should yu.
But on the other end of the spectrum, Having a too original idea can result in your book never getting sold. Shocking right? If your book is so original that no one has ever heard about then there is probably no audience for it. No audience means that your book isn’t marketable which means no one is buying your book.
So looking for that original idea can actually paralyze you and you get stuck and coming up with an idea no one has ever heard about before can result in an unmarketable book that never gets sold.
I want you to land in the middle. That’s the sweet spot.
I want you try this 10 minute exercise that has effectively helped over 789k authors find their unique idea. Or at least help them to spark some inspiration. which hadf aided them in completing over 367k novels.
Think of two of your favorite books or movies, in the genre you write and even in about genre. I want you to take a character from one book, main character, side character, love interest, villain, or a character you think should have gotten more screentime, and I want you to place that character in the setting of book 2.
Give an example.
So for example, take my favorite movie Pride and Prejudice historical fiction and… I am going to drop a character who got screen time, which would be Jane’s little sister into the setting of (mention book) There are a few things I can tweak here. For instance I can age her up, making her older. I can ask myself how will her personality play out in this new setting? I’m literally moving her from one era to the next. What challenges would she face and how can she overcome them?
And if I dont want to move her but just expand on her story I can do that as well.
And yu see that took me less than ten minutes. You can do this for a few characters yu like, switching it up however yu like. Amd these best part about this is that there is no copyright infringement. So for my fellow writers who worry about copyright laws which you should think about, this little exercise doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights.
Okay, to make this exercise even easier you know I hooked you up. So I created this free resource, it’s a pdf download, literally 2 or 3 pages. To the top of the pages there is a little guide for you to follow. So taking what you’ve learned in this first tip you can apply it. And like I said in less that ten minutes you can come up with a bunch of new ideas.
To receive that resource head across to jewellzpages.com/3 that’s the number 3 and download this free pdf. Amd take no more than ten minutes, set your timer to ten minutes and sit down and try this exercise.
Not Research your genre
now guys, this is one you definitely need to do when your writing. If you’re currently drafting out the story take some time to do some research on the genre your writing. And if you’re in the brainstorming stage, this the best time for you to know what readers expect form your genre. During the planning process you can easily make notes and incorporate those writing tropes into your stories.
And this one is a gem.
Now I know you know what genre you write but does your readers know. I remember about a year ago i was in a fb group for authors, just scrolling through minding my own business, right. And I come across a post of this new book that came out. So the author wrote this book, self -published it on Amazon and then drop the link in the fb groups and told everyone to go buy it.
Of course i didnt because I wasn’t that persons ideal reader or so I thought. and the majority of the person s in the group wasn’t either. But another reason why I did not buy it because it was clearly evident that they did absolutely no research on their genre. When i looked at the book cover, I swore guys, I swore that it was a self help hairdressing book. There was hair and women in weave and it was pink and black. So naturally I said to myself well this book isnt for me.
But curiousity as to the genre of this book got me to click the link, just to swee what the book was about. Can you guess what the genre was? Make a wild guess before I tell you. It was rromance. When I tell you that I did a double take and IU read the description to ensure they didnt plasce the book in the wrong catergory. But I still didn’t purchase it.
All this to tell you how imporatant researchign your genre is. If this author took out a little time to reasearch what romance covers look l;ike, the fonts, and colours and images it surely would have a totally diferent impact on the person viewing the cover.
So that author would have reasoned i know what my genre is but my question would have been, does your readers know and how can you as an auithor ensure that your readers know and understand the genre you’re writing?
Here are a few more questions you can ask yourself to identify your genre. I place these in the show notes so you can go back there and go over them. Simply head acrooss to jewellzpages.com/3 as in the number.
Ask yourself: Do you know why your readers read that genre? Do you know what tropes make up that genre? What in this genre satisfies your readers? When a reader picks up this genre what do they expect from it?
Knowing these things will not only help you write your book better but also market it better to your audience. Like for instance with the book cover.
if you have an audience, poll them. UIse ig stories and polls or fb polls to get to understand what is expected from your audience.
If you’re now starting and you have no audience then look at the comments under other authors posts and see what thweir readers are saying, what they expect.
And check out the book covers in your genre that you write, read more of your genre. Reading the genre you write is a great wqay to dol research. I love doing research this way because I’m knocking out two things at the same time. I’m getting closer to my reading cha;l;enge goal and UI’m understanding how to write in that genre better.
So you want to try that and dont make the mistake of not researching your genre. It’s such a vital step in finding your ideal readers and you know your ideal readers are those who your book appeals to the most. They are the ones that are going to buy that book and share it with their friends.
And this is just a little snippet of what I teach in the target reader mini course. We go more in depth as to how to identfiy your genre to appeal to your readers and I give you step by step actions to go along with worksheets. Super simple and easy to implement. The wiatlist is still open for a limited time, so if you’re listening to this in realtime the weaitlist is still open. So head across to jewellzpages.com/trwaitlist and get on the waitlist.
Ok, mistake #3
Not creating an outline
Now I dont know about you but when I;’m writing my mysteries I need an outline. Otherwise the book is just not getting written. And you can ask the many drafts that collecting physical and digital dust right now. I just started writing it wioth no oputline, no direction and they flopped. Now I’m going to finish them of course buit when i create my outline.
Why is an outline so useful?
According to Kent State university they explained that Outlines allow you to see exactly how the points of your essay will fit together before you start your rough draft. An outline will show you how your ideas relate, how abstract/concrete your ideas are, how much support you have, and what the overall structure of your argument will be.
It allows you to Constructs an ordered overview of your writing.
Many pansters if not all would not agree with making an outline. You may see it as restrictive and unneccesary. But your outline doesnt have to be anything complicated. Know who you’re writng to or for, so your ideal readers as my mini course will show you, determine the themes and messages of your book and develop structured points. Dont complicate it.
For my planners and plansters, you can try the BOOL method
So start off with knowing who you are writing for so your ideal readers, then determine the teams and messages of your book, and develop structured points. Then I want you to try the b o o l method. Brainstorm so list all the ideas that you want to include in your novel. Spend ten to 15 minutes on this. Anything that comes to mind write it down.
Organize your main plot points. into groups. So a beginning, a middle and an end.
Order your beginning. Everything that happens in the beginning of the novel.
Label, meaning create
Not Set goals
Why set goals? That is the way to ensure your novel get finished. When you set goals and actively working towards them you can accomplish a lot with your writing.
There is two types of goals I like to set and I teach my students yo set as well. First your word count goals.
So Ask yourself, what type of story are you writing. Is it a short story a novel, flash ficción. Each story type has a word count goal. Depending on the story you can determine the word count. So that’s the first step, determine the story type.
Next then you will be able ro figure out how much words you need to write on a monthly basis, weekly and daily.
For instance if youre writing a novel, a word count anywhere between 45k to 50k is the length of a typical novel. Some novels are longer, like I write mystery suspense thrillers and my latest novel is over 60k words with the goal of 80k. Say you’ve three months to complete this first draft. That’s about 17k per month. That’s 4300 words week, and 615 words a day to reach your goal.
Now for some you guys that is doable. For other writers that seems like too little. You probably could do 1000 in an hour or 2000. And yet for some this seems like too much. So what is a great suggestion to accomplish your goals.
One thing I teach my students in my coaching sessions is to set time based goals.
These goals aren’t based on word count. It has nothing to do with your word count but it’s about the time you spend writing or even thinking about. I know it sounds crazy, like thinking about writing, what am I talking about. But I have found that even when I’m not physically writing, like I’m cleaning the bathroom or washing wares I keep thinking about my writing and the next step. This is where I’ve gotten the majority of inspiration and ideas. And so while you’re not actively working on your story you are passively doing so.
And this is also quality time spent in my writing.
How does a time base goal work.?
It’s simple as saying you want to write for an hour and that’s the goal. The amount of words written doesn’t matter because it’s about the time spent.
The reason why I’ve found this to work very effectively If youre like many of my fellow writers you may feel depressed when you can’t reach your word count goal then why not try the time based goal.
During my coaching session I show you how to set your time based goal.
Before we reach topic no 5 I just want to mention that we have three more available spots left in this months coaching session.
Create a schedule and stick to it
So the last thing I want to advise new writers to when starting their story is to create a schedule and stick to it. Now I don’t want you all to create a generic schedule or grab one of the internet.
Most schedules are basically the same and very unrealistic. Many writing gurus may tell you that yu have to write everyday. Even Google says to be successful at writing it needs to be done everyday.
But this is unrealistic and impossible to do.
Not everyone has the same circumstances and because each writer has u ique challenges and situations in life a generic schedule would not work.