Monday 17 January 2022

Five Writing Tips

Five Writing Tips

Last week, I shared my writing goals for 2022 and I thought I'd follow that up with five writing tips that I've learned along the way while writing 15 books, which I'm sure I'll be putting into practice over the next year!

Writing Tips | 15-Minute Bursts

I first discovered this method of writing back in 2017. It was the school summer holidays and I was in a bit of a writing slump, so getting the words down was tough. But I found setting a 15 minute timer and only having to write during that short burst (with no distractions or looking up stuff on Google) really helpful. Having only 15 minutes to write feels less daunting and it takes the pressure off.

I've used this method loads of times since and I usually get around 400 words down. I then repeat the timer a few times during the day and I end up clocking up a decent word count for the day.

You can see my original blog post about it here

Writing Tips | Read Aloud on Word

I find the Read Aloud function on Word really helpful when it comes to the latter stages of a book. Our brains can trick us into reading what we think is supposed to be on the screen, but having a voice reading out what I've written helps to make any mistakes jump out. 

I blogged about the Read Aloud function here

Writing Tips | Fun Ways To Name Characters

Having trouble thinking of names for your characters? I put together a list of five fun ways to name characters to stop you from staring at your laptop in frustration.

Writing Tips | How To Get To Know Your Characters

So you have names for your characters, but what makes them tick?

I shared three ways to get to know your characters while planning my twelfth book.

Writing Tips | Setting Goals & Marking Milestones

I like setting myself goals when writing - even if they're only loose 'work on Book 15 during January' types ones. It helps to keep me on track and stops me getting too lazy.

I also like to mark milestones - the start of a new book, 10,000 words, The End, etc - as I find these help to keep me motivated.

I blogged about setting goals and marking milestones here

I hope you find my writing tips useful. If you have any tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below :)

Friday 14 January 2022

The Fear and The Self-Doubt of Writing

There was a lot of fear the first time I filled in Amazon's KDP sections to self-publish my first novel, A Beginner's Guide To Salad. What if I'd messed up the ebook formatting and people bought a mushed-up mess of a book? Worse, what if I hadn't messed up the formatting and people read the book but hated it. Even worse than that: what if nobody bought the book at all?

Mixed in with The Fear was The Self-Doubt, which was pointing out - rather loudly - that I'd be better off not putting myself out there at all. I feared failing as a writer, but there would be no chance of failing if I didn't publish my book.

But there would also be no chance of success. Nobody could read the book and Ruth's story would have to be shelved and I really, really wanted her story to be out there. I'd loved writing the book. Loved getting to know the characters. And I wanted others to love them too, and they wouldn't if they remained stuck on my laptop forever.

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce

So I published the book. Six people bought copies that first day. I thought that would probably be it, but slowly, the numbers rose. People left reviews and while not every book is going to hit every reader, the feedback suggested they'd enjoyed it on the whole. It's eight years to the day since I tapped on the publish button and there are 142 ratings on Amazon, with 87% being five or four stars. I've since published the paperback as well as releasing two more books in the Beginner's Guide series. And my writing hasn't stopped there: I've been published by HarperCollins and have self-published two more books outside of the Beginner's Guide series plus a short story compilation. I'm currently working on Book 15.

There are days when there is still the fear and the self-doubt about my writing, but I don't let them win and I definitely don't feel like a failure.

Monday 10 January 2022

My Writing Goals 2022


My Writing Goals 2022

Last year, I set myself 5 writing goals for the year and it went so well, I've decided to set myself five more for this year.

I'm being kind to myself this year and have kept my goals quite simple and lowkey. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself as I find this can be counterproductive. I want to enjoy my writing and feeling stressed about it trying to meet self-imposed goals doesn't allow this. If I reach my goals - great! If I don't, I'll have something to aim for next year.

So here are my goals for the next twelve months:

My Writing Goals for 2022 | 2nd Draft of Book 15 | Publish Book 13 | Write Short Story #1 | Write Short Story #2 | Take Part in Nano

I've already started working on Draft 2 of Book 15 and I'm really enjoying it, which is a good start to the year. Book 13 is a festive story, so I'm hoping to publish that later in the year and I'll also be taking part in Nanowrimo in November. In between now and Nano, I want to write at least two short stories, which I'll send out in my newsletters, so make sure you've subscribed if you'd like to read them :)

I will keep you updated on my progress here on the blog. Wish me luck!

Have you set yourself any writing or reading goals this year? Let us know in the comments.

Monday 3 January 2022

Spotlight Book: A Beginner's Guide To Salad

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce

I'll be throwing one of my books into the spotlight each month during 2022 and first up is my debut novel, A Beginner's Guide To Salad.

A Beginner's Guide To Salad | Jennifer Joyce | Six months to lose weight will be a piece of cake, right?

Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

A Beginner's Guide To Salad is the first book in the Beginner's Guide series (though there is also a short festive ebook, A Beginner's Guide To Christmas, that is set before and is a quick intro to some of the characters. You can get it for free here)

See more fun facts here

I like to post little 'Book Extras' (like you'd find on a DVD) for my books here on the blog, and for A Beginner's Guide To Salad I created a Playlist, wrote a genre-swap short story and put together quick intros to some of the characters you'll meet in the book.