Many people have asked me advice on writing as some people have true experiences that they want to write about.
Therefore I am going to write the following, but I would also like to point out that I am no expert, I just struck it lucky with my book. I have also pointed this out before that it was written as a true account and as a memoir. It was never intended to be academically politically correct. The importance in my book is about the messages it conveys, not about the academic standard. In a perfect world it would have both, but I have to argue that if it was polished to a true standard it might not carry the same significance. I also point out that as my account is true, I was not prepared to change it for the wrong reasons.
This advice is my personal advice and it is up to people to use it, or not use it, this worked for me but it may not work for you.
To write a book is not easy, the hardest part I found was to have the staying power. I used to write for magazines between 1000 to 3000 words, a book is roughly 65,000 to 100,000. It is a completely different target and it is hard but rewarding. The way round the staying power is to set yourself a target, and this must be fairly easy to start as if you keep to your target this will keep the motivation going and you will be proud of yourself. Once you keep achieving the target you can always make it a little harder. I used to vow I would write between 1000 to 3000 words a day. This flexibility made sure that if I only did 1000 words I knew the next day I had to write, or even the next day 3000 words. Obviously if you do more great, it is setting up a routine and framework.
I get asked where do I start? My answer to this especially for people who have traumatic experiences is to start at the easiest place, as at least you should be able to get some words down. A book has to have an interesting start to draw the reader in. The middle has to be just as good to keep the sustainability and of course the ending has to conclude and also be the pinnacle.
My book was first written the opposite way round. I started as a child and wrote the book from child to adult. When I paid for a critic, he told me to reverse the book. He explained that a book has to carry suspense. A murder story doesn’t tell you who the killer is until the end, the scene usually starts with the victim.
Another piece of advice and one that I think is so valuable is that he told me a book isn’t about what you put in, it is more about what you keep out. This was so valuable, people do not like to read waffle and the pace of the book needs to be moving. If the information you are writing does not give a message or move the book on, then cut it out. The characters need to be significant, and real.
I found when writing that to me it is like cooking or gardening, I have to be in the mood, yet sometimes I would force myself to sit down and after 5 minutes the words would flow and the time would pass. The key to writing is to keep a regular routine and the best is to write every day if you can. This way you will remember what you have written and you have it fresh in your memory. Everyone writes for their own reasons which can vary enormously, when I started to write my book, yes I had always wanted to, and it was a dream. Yet I didn’t plan it, I didn’t know which route I would take. I made a couple of enquiries and in the end fate seemed to step in as I was recommended a certain route. Writing as a business used to be so hard as to achieve a literary agent or publisher was difficult and you need to be able to accept rejection. Yet now ebooks have become popular, it has never been so easy. Sites like Amazon DTP open the doors for people to self publish. A site that I found very useful was Authonomy.com here you can register as a reader and just read other peoples works to give you an idea, or you can upload some of your own work. The writing should be about 10,000 words but some people repeat and paste some of their work just to fill this criteria so they can receive feedback on what they have written.
Be prepared for criticism as even the best writers can be slated, your writing may please some and others may pull it to pieces, this is where you have to believe in yourself and if in doubt ask your friends or family what they think.
This is just small advice as I have little time today, but remember writing can be very therapeutic and helpful, yet it can also be a challenge so be prepared and know yourself, and understand your limits and capabilities. I wish anyone who has a go, good luck and enjoy it.