Things I learned while writing Dead Ringer
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You’ll have to rearrange your life in order to write a novel – Things I learned while writing Dead Ringer

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If there’s one myth about writing that I hate, it’s the myth that great novels were written in snatched 5-minute bursts.

“Get up earlier and write while drinking your morning coffee! Write in your lunch break! If you’re not writing while simultaneously making a risotto and changing a duvet cover, you obviously don’t want it enough!”

I’ve snatched time to write for my whole adult life, but I only wrote something worth publishing when I (deep breath) did the opposite to all that write-in-your-lunch-break malarkey.

I quit my job.

I saved up money, I made a plan, and I decided to do it: give myself time and space to write something.

Dead Ringer by Nicola MartinTime. And space.

I’ve since gone back to work part-time (boy, having a salary is nice), but I continue to prioritise those two things: time and space.

Writing Dead Ringer required long, uninterrupted bouts of concentration. I rearranged my life around those long, interrupted periods. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I know not everyone can quit their job or go part-time, but it’s worth taking a long, hard look at how you can carve out time and space to concentrate on writing. It might mean giving up a time-consuming hobby, or skipping the Friday night pub (virtual or otherwise).

Bottom line: you need to be realistic about how much time and effort it will take to write a book. Stop beating yourself up because you haven’t written a masterpiece during your lunch break.

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Nicola Martin is the author of #DeadRinger, a psychological suspense novel about what happens when you meet your doppelganger.

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