Fiona Gibson's latest novel is The Great Escape.
1. If you don’t think you have time to write, look at your day or weekly schedule and figure out where you can make the space. It’s a bit like a puzzle. This might mean getting up super-early or stealing Sunday afternoons. Everyone can find a little bit of time somewhere, even if it means neglecting the house…
2. Try to write every day, even if you can only manage half an hour, as it’ll keep you in the flow of your story.
3. Resist the temptation to show it to all and sundry, especially during the early stages. Criticism will kill your confidence, and glowing praise doesn’t really help either. Just keep telling yourself, ‘This is going to work out.’ Keep believing in your story, and your ability to tell it well.
4. If you’re stuck, get away from your laptop, outdoors if you can – a walk or run helps to clear the fug. Recognise when you’re getting tired or stale, and walk away from your book. No point in peering miserably at the screen and declaring that it’s ‘rubbish’. Give yourself a break!
5. Don’t look for ‘gaps in the market’ or leap onto a trend. The best story is the one that grabs you and makes you feel involved and excited. Writing a novel is intense and a long, long process. It has to feel true to you.