New Year Resolutions?

Are you wondering if this could be the year to start writing that novel, but you're just not sure where to start?

Just as a marathon runner doesn't start training by setting off for a 26 mile jog on the first day, writers don't (usually) plunge straight into a 100,000 word novel.

They limber up, practise and find out what they're good (and bad) at.

Writing really is like a muscle. You start off feeling a bit self conscious and creaky, not really sure  what to write about. But if you keep at it, practise and experiment with different things, you start to get a feel for what works for you and suddenly those ideas start dropping into your head at the most inappropriate times (and back out of them at the most convenient – so keep a notebook handy!)

There are a lot of things you can do to get started but one of the best ways is to start a writing course – and finish it!

There are many online and correspondence courses, but nothing beats being in a room with a group of people who are in the same boat. It's a safe play area to start out in; you're all in it together and your tutor will take you through various exercises and techniques that you'd never have considered by yourself and you'll be able to see how everyone puts a completely different spin on things. It's a great way to get used to sharing your work and measuring yourself against the others. You'll also find out if it's really for you.

You might not bash out that novel by next Christmas, but you'll have gone a long way towards making it a better novel.