My Top Three Tips for Aspiring Authors


DOB Styled 2

Pic: DOB


Let me preface this article by saying that I’m always reluctant to give advice because every writer has his or her own approach. Nevertheless, here are some general tips to get you started on your writing journey:


1. Write from the heart.

Don’t be afraid to work from your emotions – you can always edit later, if necessary. Here's what Wordsworth had to say on the subject:

 ‘Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.’



2. If you really want to be a writer, don’t put it off.

Even though your life might be too busy to contemplate penning a 100,000-word novel, there are other possibilities such as blogs, short stories or even a novella. George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans), who was arguably the greatest Victorian novelist, once said:

‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’

And equally, it’s never too early to start!



3. Revise, tweak and polish your manuscript until it shines.

You can never do enough revisions. Don’t consider sending off a manuscript to an agent or a publisher until you know it's the very best version you can produce.  A big mistake that first-timers make is to send their manuscript too early – I know because I did it!  

Always ensure the ‘infrastructure’ is correct – the grammar, syntax and spelling. Proofread the text thoroughly for mistakes (and don’t just rely on the Spelling and Grammar Tool on your computer). 

Reading the manuscript aloud is always helpful in the checking process, not just for spotting typos, but also for checking the flow of the text and identifying clunky language.

I always read the final proof of every novel aloud – it takes about a day but it’s worth the effort because I’ve found mistakes that all of us, the structural editor, line editor, proof-reader and yours truly, have missed in just silently reading the pages.  




Deborah O’Brien

20 March, 2020


Adapted and expanded from part of an interview I did with the wonderful Jodi Gibson.