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

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm

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?’


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.

So I concentrate my writing on weekends and free evenings.  My aim is to do an average of two hours of writing every day.  This is an ambitious target; but I have met it most months this year (2020).  I’m generous to myself on what counts as writing – eg this blog, research or meeting another author as well as physically putting pen to paper.

This target-driven approach works for me.  Mostly I work in the evenings between about 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.  At the weekends I sometimes write for 4-6 hours in a day.  Many nights and some weekends, of course, I don’t write at all.

Writing projects at the moment include:

  1. My dystopic novel, Corona Crime.  What will happen after Coronavirus?  Corona Crime is one of my favourite novels, and one I hope could become a cult hit.
  2. My Hotel Stories.  I write one of these every year as a birthday gift to my partner, who is a hotel general manager.  So far I have published nine – a tenth is on the way.
  3. Promoting my Berlin thriller Blood Summit.  This is quite a success but, like anything else, needs marketing support.  I enjoy doing readings and writing about it.
  4. Running this web-site.  Setting it up was a steep learning curve – I was much helped early on by the wonderful Stephanie Muzall, and am now planning a revamp with the help of the excellent Dylan Cripps of Smooth Pixel.  Watch this space.  The biggest danger with a blog is obsessing over how many hits you’re getting – I try not to look more than once every fifteen seconds, but it’s tough.
  5. A trilogy of comic novels I hope to publish after 2021.  The first two are written; the third is at the planning stage.  Again, watch this space.
  6.  My new thriller Palladium, set in Turkey.  The novel is complete; but my first efforts to market it have met with mixed success.  A rewrite may be needed.
  7. My back catalogue of novels and short stories.  In addition to those mentioned, I have written three other novels.  They include:
  • A Killing in Sevastopol, a thriller I wrote in 2012 about tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea.  Possibly the most prescient thriller ever – or the biggest missed opportunity.  Or both.  Killing is a prequel to Palladium – see above
  • The Skip Outside the Lenin Museum, a thriller set in 1990s Moscow – a prequel to A Killing in Sevastopol, featuring some of the same characters.
  • Holiday Period: a prequel to Corona Crime, set a few hundred years earlier.

I was originally thinking of calling the novel “Coronatime”

I also have some fine short stories, waiting for a home.  

That’s it.  It’s demanding.  It’s a joy.  It’s writing, and it’s a passion.  Comments welcome.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to friend me on Facebook or sign up for my weekly newsletter (you can unsubscribe anytime you wish).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

P.P.S. This is a much-revised version of a post originally published in 2015.


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