Today I have a very interesting post from Bee about a course she’s doing with Kritikme to write a novel in three months. Please have a read!
As some of you may know, I graduated from Creative Writing at London South Bank University a couple of academic years ago now, and what I got out of it was a first class degree, a complete, ready for publication collection of poetry that I’m never going to do anything with, and the feeling that I was just kind of done with writing.
I took a break and quit my freelance writing career to work full time in a café and clear my head of all these negative feelings I had about writing after my course was over. Now I’ve decided that, of course, writing is my passion and my little special gift I’ve been given by God or my mother or whoever, and I know that that’s what I want to do with my life.
I decided recently to pick up creative writing again and try and get a novel finished, along with the help of Louise Dean who runs Kritikme, an online service for serious writers which also offers an amazing plan where you can write the first draft of a novel in 90 days! I’ve written a little bit about it over on my own blog, but I just wanted to share with you 10 things that I feel I’ve gotten out of this plan that I didn’t get out of my three-year degree course. I was just a teen back then, and I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities offered to me as much as I should have, but this plan has given me a second chance to really get into writing fiction.
Good writers write every day
I think maybe I should have just assumed this but we never got told this on my degree course! If we did, it went in one ear and out the other. The MOST important thing you can do as a writer, according to Kritikme, is to be present at the page every single day, even if it’s mostly wank or you’ve written barely anything.
The exact importance of reading
We had set texts at uni but I don’t think it ever really dawned on me that I should have actually read them! Louise says the most fool proof method is to write in the morning and read in the evening. The perfect balance to keep you creative.
Novels don’t need to be daunting or take years to complete
I never thought I would be able to get a first draft out in 90 days, but you definitely can if you put your mind to it and follow the Kritikme plan. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fully formed idea in your head, all you need to do is start and keep going. If you’re invested in the story, the rest of it will come to you as you’re going along.
You need to get into a rhythm that works for you
Louise says the golden hour for writing is 5am, but sometimes I’m already on my way to work by then! I need so much sleep to function and I guess my phase delay must be still going strong because I’m writing this very blog post at 10pm, creative guns blazing. It’s all about trial and error and finding what works for you. That being said, if I write 1,000 words as soon as I get up in the morning, it really sets me up for the day.
You can write who you know and what you know
At uni we were always taught to expand our horizons and not write about the same old characters and things we enjoy writing about. I absolutely love my characters and they’re based on people I know in real life, and Louise says that’s more than okay! If you’re invested in them and their stories, the reader will be too.
You need to believe in what you’re writing
Leading on from my last point, you need to believe that what you’re writing is good and you need to be passionate about it. Writing something you think others will enjoy but you secretly hate isn’t going to do you any favours. Delete that document gurl.
Success as a writer doesn’t come from being published
We had lessons at uni on how to get an agent and how to get published and how to become a waitress while you’re waiting for your big break, but no one ever really talked about how the important part of writing is that you’re growing as a writer with every sentence. It’s not all about pitches and cover letters, it’s about letting writing become a part of you.
A tidy room is a tidy mind
Before I started even planning my novel, I followed the Kritikme plan and made sure I had a lovely, clean, minimalist space to work in – my bedroom. It does a world of good when it comes to getting out of bed, sitting down at my desk and just bashing out some words. I don’t think I would be able to write at all now if there were piles of laundry on the floor or an unmade bed.
Playlists are important!
One of the things I love about Louise is that she recommends songs when she teaches about writing, either to convey what she means or to provoke emotion. Songs are obviously a form of writing of course, so they’re really important to my creative process. I now have writing playlists for Monday morning deadlines and rainy Sunday afternoons and everything in between, and they all help me get lost in the world of my novel.
It doesn’t have to cost £50k and take three years to get a decent tutor
I’m trying not to feel bitter about this one, but if only I’d known I didn’t need to rack up almost £50k worth of debt to become a better writer, I could have just done it with Kritikme for £119 a month over three months. I’m going to try and pretend that’s not true. Shhh everyone.
Find out more about Kritikme here.
Pin the image below if you want to be inspired!
Bee was given the course free of charge in return for her honest reviews throughout the process. All opinions are her own.