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Friday 13 July 2012

Favourite Tips For Busy Writers.

The school holidays are here, and my best tip is to keep the alarm set for the usual time. Without lunches to pack and the school run to organise, I can squeeze some extra writing time out of each day, especially if the children have a lie in! 
It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing solely for you own pleasure or with the aim of getting published, you want to produce the best piece of work you possibly can. Here are a few more tips I’ve found useful in my  own writing life...
  1. Read as widely as you can, and write all the time. Take classes, whether ‘real’ or online. Visit your local library to find out about local groups for readers and writers, and check out online sites such as http://romanceuniversity.org. Join groups such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association (http://www.rna-uk.org/) in the UK or Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org/) who provide lots of useful information and contacts. If you intend trying to sell your work, research the market and target your writing carefully before you start.
  1. Set aside some time for yourself every single day. This should preferably be dedicated writing time, but thinking time can be equally productive as long as you remember to write all your brilliant thoughts down the second you get the chance! 
  1. Read your work aloud. It’s amazing what a different perspective this gives you. It’s best to do this when you’re on your own somewhere, whether in the house or outside in an isolated spot. That way, you can really inject some feeling into your precious words.
  1. Writing what pleases you should always be top of your agenda, but if you intend writing for an audience, constructive criticism is invaluable. Once you are completely happy with your work, hand it over to someone you can trust to tell the truth, whether good or bad.  What they didn’t like, and why is as important as what they did like.
  1. Check everything, and always keep your spellchecker switched on. Keep a pad and pencil close at hand at all times to make notes when you think of them. It’s so easy to forget to do it later. Like ‘tomorrow’, ‘later’ never comes. Follow up that lead - you never know when you might strike lucky. Polish your manuscript until it shines, and when you send out a query letter make sure you go the extra mile and find out the name of the person best placed to help you. A personally addressed letter or email shows you’ve taken special care. And finally...
If you’ve got a good story to tell and you take the time and trouble to hone your craft, you’ll always find an outlet for your talent.
What are your favourite tips for authors? A copy of my latest release for Harlequin Mills and Boon, The Count’s Prize, will be awarded at random for one of the comments.

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, when she isn't  working in the garden, busy with her bees or daydreaming about resuming her abandoned Classical Studies. You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.comhttp://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com on Facebook and on Twitter, where she tweets as @christinabooks.


  1. I don't write books (but I am long-winded, LOL!); instead, I oftentimes type them for a living. My best tip is to print the book out in an easy-to-read double-spaced font, then sit at a table with good lighting to proofread. It is SOOOOO much easier to find "mistakes" from a printed page as opposed to a computer screen, plus it is easier to move paragraphs here and there with a pencil on the page instead of possibly losing it on the computer, especially if there are changes on separate pages. Your tip of reading it aloud goes hand-in-hand with this tip too. Once the changes have been made on your computer, I recommend saving your draft copy until the book is published, as you might decide (or be told to) change something back later, especially after sleeping on it....

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Laney. That's an excellent tip. I'm in the middle of editing my current WIP, and after reading your post I'm definitely going to print out the remaining chapters rather than do them on the computer. To be honest, the thought of having to boot up the computer is always a real disincentive to getting down to work for me. It's so hard to resist the temptation of Internet surfing and online shopping!
    At my current rate of progress, my latest single title should be complete by Thursday, 19th July. I'll let you know if I beat my self-imposed deadline.

  3. Hi, Laney - It worked! I'm looking to wrap up the latest draft by this evening. Thanks for the tip - send me your snail mail address, and I'll put your prize in the post.