A word of advice – Faith Hogan

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By Faith Hogan

I would say that I’m contacted about once a month, in one way or another and asked – how do you write? It’s not that people want to know how I put words on the page, no, rather, they are looking for a pearl of wisdom which I can pass on to make the whole process of writing a novel less daunting. You see, it turns out lots of people want to write a book…♥

So, over the last year or so I’ve crafted about a dozen different emails to people saying basically the same thing and I came to the point recently of thinking, it might be worth putting up some of these suggestions on my website. This is yet another thing on my to do list, but since I’m looking at overhauling the website anyway, it may move up the list a little more quickly now!

In the meantime, here’s a letter to you, the writer, hoping for that one small gem that will take away the pain of having to start, struggle and finish with those lovely six letters!

Hi Lovely,

It’s great to hear from you!

Absolutely, now is the time to start that novel! Here’s what I can share…

From what I can see, there are two types of writers out there

  1. a) The Plotters – ie, people who sit down and draw up diagrams and personalities for characters and know exactly what the very final words on the page will be before they begin!
  2. b) The Pansters! – these are the people who tend to actually write books and get to the end and even get published! You might call them chancers, or flying by the seat of their pants, but the reality is, to write a book, the hardest part for most people is beginning it. We can all hang around like a Shakespearean character and procrastinate until the cows come home, but without putting words on the page, I’m afraid it won’t get written.

So my advice to you is this…

If you have an idea, start scribbling. Don’t worry if you’re beginning at the start, the middle or the end. Anything you write will not be wasted.

I’m not saying everything you write will be published, but I do believe that any of us writing now have served a sort of private apprenticeship, which has involved putting many words on the page which never see the light of day.

I could regale you with finding novels (yes complete novels 100k words) on my computer and having forgotten I actually wrote a whole book – this has happened to me twice and on one of those occasions, I’m really glad I didn’t send it out to an agent, because it was in my opinion complete drivel!

So, write what you can, if you come to a road block stop and write something else, mix it up with a short story or a poem, give the work time to breathe and then go back and edit, again and again and again.

Writing and publishing is hard, there are no easy routes, but you might be lucky and get your work out there straight off – my hope for you is that you do!

If you don’t, the second piece of advice I’ll give you is…. don’t give up! It really is worth it, if you want it badly enough 🙂

Don’t get discouraged if you see your peers getting published before you, there is a reader waiting for you also, they may just not be ready yet! Wish them well and ask your peers, the people who will be your readers one day to look over your manuscripts. The editors out there are just like you and me; so if your friends like what you’re writing and they’re honest enough to tell you if something isn’t working, that will take a lot of time out of your editing. You can be guaranteed, if you can reel them in, the same will apply to other readers too.(immersion!)

My final words for you are… Read, Read, Read…

If stuck, Steven King’s ‘On Writing…’ is inspirational and enlightening.

For plot – Robert McKee’s ‘Story.’ he’s a screen writer and he’s good at showing ways to keep things moving.

Finally, when you are tired or feeling a little apprehensive ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron is like a spa break for writers!

Wishing you the very best of luck and looking forward to attending your launch one day soon,

Lots of love,

Faith Hogan


Faith Hogan lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. Her new novel, What Happened to Us?, is out now.

faithhogan.com

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