We’ve all learned many things as we’ve gone on to write one book after another. I started off writing novels back in 2013. I would dedicate 2 whole days to writing, and then work at the hospital on the other 3 days. I sent off my first manuscript, Mind Games, and was straight away considered for representation. This is easy, I thought.

However, when The Susijn Agency eventually turned me down after a week of nail-biting, I started writing The Pilates Class and A House Without Windows, and then these were followed by ‘Lily: A Short Story‘, all in 2014. Eventually by 2021 my Amazon author page is full of books, and I now have a very different opinion about writing novels than I did at the beginning. Here are a few things I’ve learned, not in any particular order — just as I think of them. If I’ve missed any out that you’ve personally come across, please add them in the comments.

  1. Your precious time spent writing will slowly chip away as social media interferes more and more.
  2. When you take time out to read, you’ll not enjoy the book as much as you used to do. Why? Because you’ll be ferreting out spelling mistakes, grammar howlers and plot holes.
  3. You’ll not rush to get your latest book published like you did with the earlier ones. You’ll take time to get the story right.
  4. You’ll realise after a few years that many writing competitions are just scams by marketing companies to increase their income.
  5. You’ll eventually end up buying your own ISBNs instead of using Amazon’s free ones, so that your book can be sold on multiple sites.
  6. You will end up taking a notebook everywhere to jot down ideas as they come to you.
  7. It will dawn on you that finding an agent will not be as easy as you’d first thought, and that your book will need to stand out from millions of others to get noticed.
  8. You will be surprised that not all readers like your book, and that sometimes you will receive some one-star reviews. You’ll realise you will need to grow a thicker skin to survive the slings and arrows of outraged readers.
  9. When you see a long list of corrections from the editor’s red pen, you’ll often wonder why the hell you are putting yourself through such torture.
  10. When an editor says your book needs re-writing, then it actually does need re-writing.
  11. If you really get into your story, you’ll find that on some days you might forget to cook the dinner.
  12. You will be encouraged to write more if your book places high in genuine writing competitions.
  13. When you get your first 5 star review you’ll know it’s all been worth it!