Monday, February 17, 2020


By Mary Kennedy                                           

Am I an expert at writing novels? Heck no! Is there any reason to heed my advice?  Maybe not. But on the plus side, I've written (and sold) 47 novels to major NY publishers. Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way. 

1. Don't get paralyzed by the feeling that maybe your novel will never see the light of day. If you give up now, it definitely won't. I can guarantee it. The only thing now is to persevere. If you hit a snag put a double XX or some marker in the ms and keep going You can go back and fix it later.

2. Don't get hung up by the small stuff. If you can't find a description of a Victorian parlour, don't let the writing grind to a halt. You're probably only talking about a paragraph in the finished novel. Keep going!

3. Stick to a schedule. Yes, everyone needs a break, but are you taking a break or an escape? Hint: a nap is an escape.                     
4. Don't get distracted by other online activities. If necessary, use a separate computer for writing. Some of my friends do this and recommend it.     
5. Stop talking about your "work in progress" to your friends. Newsflash: they may not find your WIP as fascinating as you do. Not saying this is the case, but consider the possibility. And think how silly you're going to feel when six months pass, or a year passes and there is no book! Luckily, they will probably have forgotten but why take a chance?

6. Set a deadline. You know the difference between a dream and a goal? It's a DEADLINE. Get out the calendar and mark off how many pages you are going to write a day. 5 or 6 is a good estimate. Now work backwards. Pick a date about six months from now. Check off how many writing days it will take to complete your book by that date. Set a page goal. Write down how many pages you wrote on Monday, for example. If you didn't write any,and your goal is six pages a day then you have to write 12 pages on Tuesday. Trust me, you will not feel like it.

Finally, it's easy to talk about writing. A lot of people do and they never follow through. If you're serious about writing as a career, then make it a priority, even if you have to burn the midnight oil or get up at the crack of dawn to get your "pages' done for the day.

No excuses, and good luck!

Mary Kennedy


paxskube said...

Thanks,Mary.This is reasonable advice for those of us who need to hear it.
I want you to know that someone needed this and saw it.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and I'm glad my tips were helpful! mary

Molly MacRae said...

This is wonderful, Mary! All your tips are right on and your cat staff illustrate your points purrfectly.

Dean James said...

All great advice, Mary. I need to heed most of it myself!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks so much, Molly. Dean, you are wildly prolific! I was just thinking today that I don't know how you accomplish everything that you do! mary

Patti said...

If I twist just so, in front of a full length mirror, I'm pretty sure those are your sole marks on my behind. Ouch! I needed this as "napping" is my excuse when work doesn't get done. Q? I associate my computer with paying bills. Can't afford a 2nd computer. How do I break that connection so I don't dread going to the computer? Ty!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Hi Patti, how to break the negative connection (computer equals paying bills)? Try to make writing a "different" experience on the computer. If you have a laptop, you could take it to another room, for example. If that's not possible, try playing background music when you write. Some people find this distracting, though.Let me see if I can think of a better solution for you...and thanks for stopping by, mary