Book, Writing

How to write a book

No need to hold your breath – the following post doesn’t bear any expert advice. I have no clue how to write a book. No, wait, change that. I have no clue how to write a good book. I do, however, have a certain authority on how to write a few pages without tearing my hair out in despair.

Apart from the most obvious tips like designating writing time, switching off all phones, the TV and the Internet connection (yes, that includes Twitter); the most important advice I want to pass on is to just do it. Just bloody sit down and start typing. Once you’ve started, it shall become easier. Or not, but at least you’ll have started.

During the past months, I came across a couple of helpful bits and pieces that made the journey from wild agglomeration of thoughts and ideas to brilliant piece of fiction with bestseller potential (another top tip: believe in yourself!) much more fun. Time to share:

  • Painstakingly tedious but also incredibly helpful: designing and outlining a novel with the Snowflake Method
  • Writing emotions using body language or this
  • Words, words, words. Take inspiration from Planethalder and make a list of your favourite words and send them through this
  • Travelling without moving. Type the address into Google Earth and zoom yourself wherever you want to go. Now paint the picture.
  • It’s all in a name. Why not call the aggressive German character in your book Crimilda (meaning: she fights wearing a helmet)
  • Expert advice on synopsis, agents and publishers: BubbleCow
  • Feeling alone? There are more people like you out there: Life In A Pink Fibro, Returning Scot or Deer Baby to name just a few

More to share? Feel free to add to the list!


  1. oh yes, what a wonderful list. I love the body language pages and the synonym finder. I’m picking apart the plot of my novel at the moment and rewriting. Hard work but surprisingly fun. So good to hear of a few other novelists out there 🙂

  2. I am favouriting this post as I am going to start trying to write a book later this year. So will be returning to look at all the links. So impressed that you’ve done it.

  3. Oh, great links. I used the Snowflake method to outline my book way back last Summer. I found it invaluable. Another tip I would add is to set yourself mini (daily if possible) goals. Mine was/is to write 1000 words a day (but it can be 500). Another is to write for 30 minutes a day – even if you can’t do it in one stretch. Just 30 mins – seems doable. is my friend – it’s always open as a tab. Another tip is to make your verbs work really hard – use great verbs! Then you don’t need so many adverbs.

  4. I do think the most important thing is just to sit your bum down and start writing. I can’t believe the amount of people I meet who have a book in their head, and they look at me (published – once) as if I have a magic formula. No, I don’t.

  5. This has been so inspiring for me. Thanks! Just what I needed to read. Really love this list and the links.
    So, I’m off to do something writing and turning everything else off…. NOW!

  6. Thanks for this list, have bookmarked to go through properly. I’ve got a manuscript that’s been languishing for years, and a couple of book ideas (fiction and non-fiction) playing around in my mind so this will def come in handy.

    And to Expat Mum, writing’s obviously the important step. But then the marketing is where I stumbled (with my first effort) – guess I just didn’t take it that seriously and then the whole project lost its ‘heat’ for me. So I’d add, Just do it. And then Just pitch it – to get to that elusive publishing deal! 😉

  7. Great advice here and it’s generous of you to share it. I’m a firm believer in the idea that everyone has a story to tell – everyone. And these days with e-books it’s not that hard to get a story published and available. So much of what I have done with books and with TV back in the past too was helping people tell their stories; it’s incredibly satisfying.

  8. Great post – and thanks for the shout-out. It’s hard work, this book writing, isn’t it? So much easier to just talk about it.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

  9. So glad I found you through weekend rewind. What a great post and some great links. I am an aspiring writer and just find it hard to sit down and concentrate, but that probably has something to do with kids, work, housework, hubby,…excuses, excuses I know. I need to just bloody do it!

  10. Great list & congratulations on finishing your book. I remember chatting to you at The MADS when you first started it about how you were finding the time- fantastic acheivement!

  11. Hey, I’m going to have to bookmark this post and work through those links. Excellent! Thanks 🙂 (Coming over from the Pink Fibro this weekend)

  12. I am going to keep this and hopefully just start writing… although in my case it’s more short stories but they same applies I’m sure!

  13. That list looks really interesting. I’m going to start working my way through it. I’ve heard lots of positive things about BubbleCow, founded by the lovely (and published-several-time author) Caroline Smailes of course x

  14. Oohhh, I was waiting for this since you gave me the heads up (apologies for not responding). It’s lovely of you to share your tips, it is just what I need to kick start myself into gear. Thanks 🙂

  15. Wonderful post. I’m deep into my book writing as I type this! My mind is always on “the book”.

  16. Great list and generous of you to share. I’m on my second novel now and the secret is definitely be strict and just say NO to kitchen floor, phone ringing and meeting friends!

  17. thanks! I’ll be taking note of all of the above. I’m in the process of publishing a book of poetry – harder than I thought. I want my next book to be a novel. Pretty intimidating but as you said – just do it!

  18. Thanks for the mention. I wish I had some advice! I do use Google earth! There’s even a scene in my novel where the character uses it to track someone. I’ve tried lots of different methods – planning, not planning, using cards, not using cards, not reading other books whilst I am writing, reading everything I can lay my hands on.

    But like you say the best way is just to sit down, bottom on chair, and write it. That’s the only way.

  19. I came back today to read this. Cannot say how much I applaud your writing a novel and writing a blog as well. It’s all I can do to haul my sorry bum out of bed in the morning. These are great tips and as with blogging I guess there is no substitute to just sitting down and writing. Would be fascinated to hear more about what kind of novel you wrote!

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