1. Never underestimate the importance of daydreaming. We grow up being taught daydreaming is wasted time but it isn’t, especially if you’re a writer. Ideas and answers come when you’re on screensaver mode.
2. You will have days when you hate what you’re writing and days when you love it, and days where you oscillate between the two. It’s a very bipolar love affair. On the bad days, have trusted friends who’ll say: it’s NOT rubbish. Or, eat a Creme Egg and give yourself an hour off. Unfortunately, tons of self doubt is part of the deal.
3. Try to be in each of your characters’ heads, not a director’s chair, shouting directions through a megaphone to get them to move the plot forward. No-one is the villain of their own story, and everyone has their own rationale.
4. Don’t hide from problems. But if you fix it, rather than try to avoid it, you tend to find some interesting new dimension to the story as a reward.
5. Plotting is sweating. I wish I could say I’ve found a way to make it easy, but I haven’t. Sorry, I wanted to end on a positive. Good luck!
Mhairi's latest novel, Here's Looking at You, is out now.