What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
The most important thing is to write regularly. I set myself a target of 10 pages per writing day, and I try to make myself meet that target every day when I am writing. I don’t think the target actually matters – it can be half a page a day, or a paragraph day. The vital thing is to set a realistic goal and meet that goal every time you sit down to write.
As a published writer, do you feel pressure to balance your creative writing license with what the audience wants? If so, how do you balance the two?
I try never to think about my audience. I always write stories that I think would appeal to me if I was reading them. Having said that, I certainly have become more aware of my audience as my books have grown in popularity, and I do sometimes find myself worrying if a new book will live up to expectations. The only way to combat such thoughts is to drive them from your mind as swiftly as possible!! You’ve always got to focus on writing the best stories you can, not on meeting the requirements of your fans.
What advice would you offer writers to build their platform before they become published?
The key thing is to do lots and lots of writing. Publishing eats into your writing time, as does success. You will never be as free to experiment and push yourself as you are before you start getting published. Make the most of that time by trying different types of stories and building up your skills. When no one is reading what you write, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, so don’t be worried of failing. Writers learn from their failures, and that’s how they build up to their successes. Make yourself busy!!!
How much do trends influence your writing?
Not in the slightest. I always spend at least 2 or 3 years working on a book – sometimes it can be even longer. A hot trend when I start a book will usually have fizzled out long before I finish work on it! So I never pay any attention to what’s happening with other books, and never worry about whether I might be seen as jumping on a badwagon. I make it my goal to try to write great stories, and a great story will always stand out regardless of whether or not it comes along during, before or after a trend.