Craig Lawrence left the British Army in 2016 having spent 33 years as a Gurkha officer. He has written five books, two of which, both Gurkha histories, have been Amazon bestsellers. His latest action adventure thriller, ‘Reasonable Doubt’, came out earlier this week! Here he shares some thoughts on how to approach writing.
There’s no ‘right’ way to write but there are a few things that I find really help me, whether I’m writing a 400 page book or a short article.
The first, and for me the most important, is working out how I’m going to structure what I’m writing. This sounds complicated but it’s nothing more that breaking the story down into manageable chunks. These can be arranged by time (school, career, retirement etc) or theme (sport, parenting, work etc). Not only does this make the task of telling the story less daunting but it will also help the story flow in a natural way.
The second is to keep going and resist the temptation to rewrite every sentence over and over until you think it’s perfect. Doing this can be immensely frustrating. It also wastes a great deal of time because you’re probably going to go back and change the words anyway as your story matures and you develop a clearer idea of what you’re trying to say. So push on to the end and then put your first draft aside for a few days before going back and editing it. You’ll be surprised how much better your words will look when you’ve had a break from them. In addition, your subconscious will have had a chance to think about how to improve the bits you found difficult and you might find you suddenly have a flash of inspiration when you go back and re-read your words after a few days.
Thirdly, be disciplined. Decide when you’re going to write and stick to your plan. Don’t wait until you ‘feel creative’ or you’ll never finish your story. Everybody finds writing hard, even multi-million bestselling authors, so stick at it.
Lastly, be kind to yourself and be proud of what you’ve written. Having started with a blank piece of paper, you’re creating something from nothing that others will find interesting – that’s quite an achievement!