Getting Started on a New Writing Project #WritingTips

Getting started on a new writing project


Well, I can procrastinate no longer – the time has come for me to sit down and begin writing what will hopefully become my second novel.

I think I can hear my editor muttering “about time too” 70 miles away in Aberystwyth, and I don’t blame her. I’m a very slow writer. I need to have the story straight in my head before I’ll consider typing even one word, and percolating a story isn’t a quick process, well, not for me anyway. 

My first novel, Not Thomas, lived in my head for ten years or more, and it was fully formed before I began typing it up. My next story has been growing for around two years – so not very long, relatively speaking. It feels a little soon to begin typing, if I’m honest. 

And it’s a long, long time since I began writing a new novel – 16 years, to be precise.

I started Not Thomas in 2001 and wrote it incredibly slowly (my About Sara page explains why it took me so excruciatingly long) so I’m just a little bit out of practise. To help remind myself of all the things that are good to think about right at the start of the creative process, I thought I’d make this the theme of my blog for the next month or two.

So, to ease me gently into writing novel #2, here’s my first tip to myself for starting a new project:

Get a new notebook or two.

20170524_180336 (1)

I write very little long-hand, preferring to type straight onto my laptop, but I couldn’t be without a large A4 notebook. For me, it’s the very first thing needed for a new writing project – after getting the story all sorted in my head and ready to go, that is. And honestly, it’s not just an excuse to buy beautiful stationery – although buying beautiful stationery is one of my favourite pastimes. It’s a starting point, somewhere to commit ideas to paper, and get them out of my head.

I write my synopsis in one notebook, chosen especially for the project, usually spring-bound, so it’ll stay open all by itself on my kitchen table. I also use this notebook to jot down sentences that come to me in random fashion, character sketches and anything else that occurs to me when I’m cooking, washing up or writing something else. As I don’t tend to type up in order, I can just flick through the notebook to find inspiration and a section of the story to write about. 

And the little notebook stays in my handbag, so when I’m out and about I always have somewhere to jot down my thoughts.  

So that’s my starting point. I’d be really interested to hear what preparations you have for starting to write a new novel. What are your must-haves? Are you a procrastinator like me, or do you just dive right in? Drop me a line and let me know.

Diolch yn fawr and thanks for reading,

Sara x

Sara’s debut novel ‘Not Thomas’ – a story of child neglect, love and hope, shown through the eyes of five-year-old Tomos – is published by Honno Press in paperback and as an e-book, and is available to buy direct from the publisher, from Amazon and from bookshops.



7 thoughts on “Getting Started on a New Writing Project #WritingTips

  1. I have flip board refills one for each character, one for place and one for time line. A curtain wire to peg them on sharpies of various colour and thicknesses. A couple of note books and some silliness to encourage me Hidden in a file box are fizzy sweets
    I spent a year researching before Typing my Title. Three years on my edits are on the last leg.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations on being on your last round of edits, Ellen.That’s a wonderful feeling! You sound far more organised than me. Love the idea of the curtain wire to peg everything on to – I might steal that further down the line! Like your fizzy sweets, I have a stash of chocolate to keep me going – usually mint or ginger – and I get a bit panicked when my supplies are getting low!
      All the best with your novel xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am the most disorganised writer! I’ve been known to scribble ideas down on receipts using eye liner ;D But like you, I take a lot of time to let ideas take shape in my head before writing. It can be hard to switch back into writing mode after promoting your book, so you’re right to make the process as gentle as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Evie. Yes, promoting and creating feel like they’re poles apart at the moment. I need a very gentle switch back into writing – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! Hope you’re having a great week x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s fascinating to learn more about your writing process, my dear “Sarascribe.”

    I laughed while reading the line “I think I can hear my editor muttering ‘about time too’ 70 miles away in Aberystwyth, and I don’t blame her.” Hilarious!

    Who cares if you’re a slow writer as long as you complete the work, says I!

    You know it took me ten years to complete “Birth of a New Brain” although I wish I could’ve shaved a few years off that number. No matter. I’m very impressed you’re on your way writing a new novel. I know two years of thinking about the entire story is short compared to a decade, your previous amount of time. I know that you feel it’s too soon, but it sounds like you need to go for it nonetheless.

    You’re a true writer! One who is worthy of fine cake. (Forgive me – I always have to get cake into the picture in this blog, although this time I’ll freely admit it’s clunky!) I love beautiful writing notebooks and I really like your tip to use one or two.

    By the way:

    Cael diwrnod bendigedig!


    Eich bod yn awdur dirwy !!!!!!!!

    Dyane :)))))))))

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s