Are you struggling to complete your first ever novel?

Let me begin with this — I am no expert. So, if you are looking for expert advice you should quit reading this article right this second.

1/ Write for a minimum of 30 minutes every day — and if you can, write more.

Writing everyday is paramount if you want to succeed in completing your first draft any time this century.

2/ A draft is just that, a draft — don’t procrastinate on perfection.

Seeking perfection is the first step towards ‘writers block’ and ultimately a pile of unfinished manuscripts. They may all have a ‘perfect’ page or two but they are never finished because they just aren’t good enough. Well you will never know will you?

3/ Start with an outline.

There are a lot of books and articles out there telling you how to create the ideal outline for a book. But what’s ideal? Only you can determine how much structure you need, how much calm amid the chaos is necessary for you to be able to create.

4/ Begin with the end in mind.

Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t have to be written in stone. And it could, should and probably will, evolve through the process. That’s life! But knowing in which direction you are heading is important when developing your plot, story structure, timeline and character development, etc.

5/ Join a writers group.

This was a pivotal moment for me. It happened by chance. Or perhaps it was divine intervention, at a coffee shop in Santa Monica, but whichever it was — I believe it is one, if not the only, reason that I finally finished the draft.

Claire Pinckney is a freelance writer, fashion designer and content creator. For more articles like this subscribe to our newsletter at

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