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Writing tips: how to write a novel – or eight – and enjoy it

When should you write?  How can you find time to complete a novel – or two, or eight?  Do writing targets – eg two hours per day – help?  My schedule.

Someone the other day asked me: ‘when do you write?  And what are you working on now?’

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Here is a snapshot.

First, I have a full-time job.  It’s a fine job and I’m privileged to have it.  It keeps me busy most days from around 8.30, when I start work, until around 18.45.  My job also requires me to be out a lot in the evenings.

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Writing tips: How I write

How to write novels, a blog and short stories, while holding down a full-time day job.  For writing a book, a target-driven approach may work for some people.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my thriller Blood Summit and the famous Hotel Stories.

People sometimes ask me: ‘when do you write?  What are you working on now?’

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Here is a snapshot.

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Writing tips: writing the perfect article: Nut-grafs & Cosmic Kickers

The standard ingredients of instrumental lede, nut-graf, body and kicker, or cosmic kicker, provide a great framework for writing blogs, articles or other factual reports. 

A writer stares at a blank page, sweating.  How to get started?  If only there were a simple guide somewhere to writing articles for the Internet, newspapers or magazines!

So you want to write the perfect article? Welcome. I’ll tell you how.

The essential starting point is that you must have a clear central message What are you trying to say?  What’s your point? Clarity on this makes everything that follows much easier.

Start by reading part 1 of this series “7 tips for writing the perfect article” (links in bold italics are to other posts of mine on this website).  It shows how to decide on your message and make sure what you are writing is relevant.  Later, in part 3, How to write great Nut-grafs & Cosmic Kickers, you can see two worked examples based on the model set out below.

Once you are clear on what you want to say, it’s time to get started.  “The best way to start work is to start work”.  Structure is everything.

Many journalists use a simple template.  There are lots of ways of doing this; but the following, based on advice from a US journalist friend, has worked well for me in numerous feature articles during my time as a freelance journalist.  A worked example is at the end of this blog.

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For more writing tips, follow this blog (hit the blue “click here” button top right) 

Your article should consist of the following elements. I’ve set them out in the order in which they will appear (more…)

How leap seconds work

I thought this account of how leap seconds work at “The Science Geek” was outstanding.  A complex subject explained in English that you can understand, without in any way talking down to his audience.  A model for science communication!  I read his blog with pleasure.

I am hoping I can tempt him to write something about ageing and telomeres, a concept which lies behind the life-extension premise of my novel Coronatime.

I don’t have a leap-second-themed picture in my image bank, but here’s a picture of Wittgenstein’s grave from the Central Cemetery in Vienna – itself located, with existential irony, on the edge of town…

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Blogging tips: how often to post?

How often should you post on your blog?  Daily, weekly, monthly?  What frequency of blogging will attract maximum readership?  You can use social media to increase the readership of your blog posts.

I recently read a blog discussing the case for writing a post every day. The author decided to attempt this for the rest of the year, even if this meant some pretty short posts (“I like waffles!”)

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Robert Pimm at SALT Gallery in Istanbul.  Note rare shirt logo.

I, on the other hand, am torn.  (Aside: my friend Claudia told me in Vienna in 1985 that the words “Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn”, sung in a raspy voice by David Bowie on the 1981 Queen and David Bowie version sent, to put it politely, a frisson down her spine.  It’s at minute 2.16 on the link.)

Evidence suggests that posting lots of blogs gets lots of readers.  When I started this blog in 2013 I uploaded a couple of dozen of my newspaper articles in 24 hours and instantly received dozens of followers.

My general policy is to post once a week, usually on a Saturday around 1300.  My goal is to give readers around the world something to browse at the weekend.  In the past my goal was to pick a time which would work for my followers in the UK and US, but since I have started accumulating readers in India (hello everyone!) I may have to revise that.

Then we have Facebook.

I post all my blog-posts to my page on Facebook.  It is one of my top sources of hits.

I also use Twitter and Instagram regularly from my @robertpimm accounts to highlight my blog posts and other social media activity.  Usually I try to jazz these up with a photo.  Twitter has the big advantage that you can reach out to people you don’t know, although it is a tough, competitive world out there with hundreds of tweets posted every minute of every day.

Comments welcome!  Feel free to reply in the comments box below or, if you’re on Facebook, comment there.  If you have deep or dark thoughts and don’t want to share them with others, send me an e-mail using the “Contact Me” page above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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