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So You Want To Write A Novel? Here’s My Biggest Advice.


February 24, 2014 by Jen Cudmore

blog-hop-for-writersThis post is part of a Blog Hop set up by my new author friend Ruth Snyder. Today we’re all discussing what advice we would give to a new writer.


There is so much involved in writing a book. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, or at least it was for me when I started. Like any new skill, learning to write well takes commitment and time. I’ve only been writing for 7 years and I know I’m not a master yet!

So you want to write a novel? Here’s my biggest advice:

Be patient with the process.

books2The keyword is PROCESS. When you break it down, the craft includes characterization (interesting characters and their growth), plot twists and arcs, setting choices and descriptions, realistic dialogue and the proper use of beats and tags, show versus tell, and so much more. Not to mention basic sentence structure and grammar rules. There is also the business side, learning how the publishing world works and what it takes to market your products. It’s exhausting to think about!

Because there are so many facets, the only way to succeed is to nail down the details (many of which I didn’t even mention above). Olympic gold-medalists, award-winning chefs, Oscar nominees – they all had to practice over several years to become great.

A few years ago I took a tae kwon do class with my family. When I first started, I was a white belt, barely knowing any of the moves and completely awkward! But eventually with hard work I mastered the basics and earned my yellow belt, then orange, then green. (Unfortunately, I had to stop there due to scheduling conflicts, but I hope to one day go back and earn my black belt!)

???????????????????????????????The key was accepting that it takes years to earn a black belt, which means putting in plenty of time practicing. My instructor has spent thousands of hours honing each kick, punch and block. That level of skill cannot be learned merely in a few months.

My point: Every person who was great at something had to put in a lot of time and effort. So new writer, please be more patient than I was and don’t try to rush it! Be open to learning and practicing. Be patient with the process!

(For more specific writing tips, I have a series of lessons I learned that you might find helpful!                  click here)

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  1. Great advice Jen! My favorite phrase is “Patience is a virtue for which we should all strive”. Unfortunately there are those times when I’m not even close to striving! LOLOL

  2. Sara Davison says:

    Very similar to what I wrote Jen – the writing process is definitely a process and not only shouldn’t be rushed, but should be savoured and enjoyed every step of the way. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I also wrote that it’s a lifelong journey, Jen. So many of us are going through the same, it would seem.

  4. Jen Cudmore says:

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies. Funny how we all gave similar advice!

  5. Leanne Ross says:

    Thanks for sharing a reminder to be patient. Writing is SO hard that it would be great if we could just wish it to being perfect. Patience is great advice.

    Leanne Ross
    ( & @LeanneRossRF )

  6. Jen, Thanks for sharing your advice and reminding us that we need to be patient in the writing process. Most things that are valuable take hard work and persistence!

  7. The words that resonate for me from your post, Jen, are: process, effort, time. Thanks.

  8. You are so right. Writing is a process and patience a necessity. Well said.

  9. RB Austin says:

    Great advice! Something I need to repeat to myself, especially right now. I’m in the middle of line by line edits. I can handle about five pages at a time before my eyes cross. It’s extremely slooow going, but I know my novel will be better afterward. I need patience!


  10. Thanks for the post! Patience is something I’ve only recently acquired but it does help.

  11. Violet N. says:

    Great thoughts, Jen! The exciting part of the writing journey is that we never stop learning. We can ALWAYS get better, whether we’ve been at this for seven, seventeen, twenty-seven or any-iteration-of-seven years.

  12. Process… patience… persistence… you’re so right, Jen. It’s when we accept this and work within it that we’ll make progress. Fighting to be farther ahead than we really are just causes stress.

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