Free Tips!

Free Tips and Writing Prompts


Carry a note book at all times, small one for your wallet or purse, medium size for car, fancy fru-fru one for beside the bed.Write in this note book whenever you can, random thoughts, observations, descriptions.

Play ‘I spy the synonym’ with yourself whenever you are waiting in a queue or doctors waiting room- see how many ways you can come up with  ‘like a…..’ to describe people, colours, textures, furniture, sounds, weather and so on.

If you feel too self conscious to use a notebook be a thoroughly modern Mr or Ms and make notes on your phone. No-one will know you are writing your masterpiece, they’ll just think you are sending an inane sms like they are!

My Favorite Writing Prompts

For a week start a piece of writing every morning with the words ‘I remember….’ Especially good for memoir writers, (stolen from the original writing guru Natalie Goldberg).

Start writing your memoir as a list. Go back as far as you can and list all your memories as dot points. Start putting the memories on index cards, with main dot point images. Choose one each day for a ten minute writing exercise.

Observe whatever is around you in close up detail. When you feel the impulse, start to describe what you see, follow your thoughts, see where they take you then bring your description back to the original object again and finish off.



Old Postcards

Go hunting in second hand stores for old post cards. Start collecting. When you have a few, choose a postcard each day that seems somehow relevant to the story you are working on. Examine it for a while then use it to prompt a fifteen minute writing exercise on character, setting, or emotional mood.



Jan’s Ten Top Tips

From the 2011 revised edition of Jan’s best seller – Write Your Book On A Weekend   –  coming soon in Writers Journey Shop

1.Read, Read, Read!

Everything and anything all the time – feed on the classics, modern literature, experimental writing.  Devour it for breakfast , lunch and dinner. Keep yourself in a state of perpetual inspiration.


2.Write, Write, Write!

Everyday as much as you can. Copy, imitate, beg, borrow, steal until you find your writers’ voice. If you only write for ten minutes a day, that’s 300 words which over a year adds up to 109,500 words. That’s a book!


3.Write as if your life depended on it.

If your idea doesn’t involve daring, forget it and come up with one that does.If you feel scared to write what you want to write, you know you are on the right track.


4. Make a Commitment.

If you are not committed to your idea forget it! It has to be something you would trade your life for – well almost! Sell your house, hock your dog. Make a list of the things you are willing to give up for your writing.


5.Trust You Can.

To write a book you have to trust in yourself, in the process, in the unknown. It’s another reason we don’t do it. It’s too scary! What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if I succeed? Then what? You have to trust that your every bit of scribbling will one day all add up to something.


6. Have Faith.

It’s like trust, but is more about believing you really can do it – that you have what it takes to be a writer, that you believe you really will do it. In the times when you don’t have faith just act ‘as if.’ Tell people you are writing a book and then you will have to do it! Don’t give them too much information, just enough to keep them intrigued.


7. Cultivate the Art of Dreaming.

You can do it anywhere, any time. Suddenly your favorite (antisocial) pastime becomes useful. Cultivate the art of dreaming on your bed, in an armchair, in the garden, in the traffic jam, but always make sure you have your notebook close by to catch the ideas as they start to fall.


8. Marry Creativity!

People, partnerships, marriages may come and go but the creative process will never abandon you. From the moment you wake ‘til the moment you go to sleep if you give yourself over to creativity you will never be unhappy again.


9.Write From a Place of Emotional Truth.

It doesn’t mean you have to tell all your secrets but if you can harness the power of your unique emotional truth your writing will have a powerful impact.


10. Always Come Back To The Writing.

There’s no need to get impatient or rush to the end product. As in meditation when we simply come back to the breath, each day all you have to do is come back to the writing watch the writing will write itself.


More tips on Getting Feedback for your writing here

Useful links

QLD Writers Centre  – info sheets on all aspects of getting publishing and finding an agent.

List of Australian Publishers

Small and Independent Publishers Australia

Finding an Agent

Writing a Book Proposal

 Watch this space for more tips and writing prompts.