How to Start Writing your Novel

I don’t know about you, but one of the most exciting parts of writing a book for me is the moment I get the idea. I will be sitting there minding my own business, maybe reading or working on another WIP, and out of the blue a shiny new idea forces its way into my brain. It is honestly one of the best parts of being a writer, but what comes next is potentially one of the worst… getting started.

This post will outline the best ways to get started on writing your novel, so that you don’t find yourself sitting there staring at a blank page.


Get your idea down


Whether you are a Plotter, Pantser or Plantser will determine how much time you spend on this section. That said, no matter how much you fly by the seat of your pants, having a vague set of bullet points will help you get started. If you are a Plotter or Plantser, you may go much further than that with detailed chapter outlines, character cards and world building. Whichever style suits you best, you are much more likely to get going if you have a place to start.


If you aren’t sure which you are, then take our quiz to find out your outlining style.


Set yourself a realistic goal with deadlines


I find it much easier to succeed when I have something tangible to work towards. Maybe it is a daily/ weekly word count goal, or maybe the aim is to finish a certain number of chapters each week/ month? Set yourself a goal, write it down, tell friends and family about it, even announce it on Instagram and chart your progress there. Whatever it takes to keep that goal front of mind so that you know what you are striving towards.


The key word here though is realistic. Just because you want to write an entire book in a month, doesn’t mean you will be able to. This leads nicely into my next point of creating a routine.


Create a writing routine


Once you have a goal in mind, you can set yourself a routine for achieving it.


First, take a good look at your current responsibilities. You may have a full-time job, a family to care for, volunteering responsibilities etc. and you will need to create a writing routine that fits in with all of those. Achieving your goal will be more about consistency than anything else, so don’t feel disheartened if you can only carve out 30 minutes a day, that will soon add up over the course of the weeks and months.


Set up your workspace


Next, set aside a space to write. I find that my likelihood of writing dramatically increases when I have a space dedicated to it. It’s not much, just a rickety old desk set up in my spare bedroom, but I love having a space that is only for writing.


If you are very lucky, then you might have a home office that you can dedicate to this. Most of us, though, will have to grab any space that we can. Maybe you can set up a desk in your bedroom or dining room? Or convert a storage room/spare bedroom into your writing space? Maybe you have a big enough garden for an insulated shed (with a heater) that is just for writing?