1. Write a lot. That’s not meant to sound glib. Writing’s like a game of pass the parcel: you have to wade through all the boring, tedious layers of wrapping on the outside before you get to the prize in the middle. And with writing, it can take an inordinate amount of time to reach that prize.
2. Be brave. I don’t just mean in terms of what you write (although obviously that too). But allow other people you trust to read and comment on what you’ve written. It’s scary putting yourself out there but it can be invaluable in helping your work develop.
3. Suit yourself. Some people will insist that you have to write in a particular place or according to a particular routine. But writing’s one of the most personal things you can do and you need to find what works for you.
4. Be disciplined. Wherever you choose to work on your writing, don’t forget that it is work. Lots of people ask me if I wait for inspiration to write. The answer is a resounding no. You have to write through the days when you’re not in the mood and when you know what you’re writing will end up in the virtual (or even the real) bin. But that’s how you get to the days when you write something that you know just might be okay. Sometimes, on really good days, something that’s even better than okay.
5. Read everything you can get your hands on – novels, essays, blogs, newspaper articles. Because inside every good writer is an avid reader.
Hannah’s first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook, is out on the 13th of February.