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'Writing is like teaching - everyone thinks you clock off early and have long holidays.'

In a way it is - because the job doesn't stop when you get home, and the paperwork's never-ending. But never fear, here are a few of my personal tips to point you in the write direction:

1. Don't be scared of writing rubbish. Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't you? It'll get better with time.

2. People say, "Write every day". I tried writing every day, but got stuck trying to spell Wedensday. Now I just write as often as I can.

3. Your SatNav can't help you find your own voice, but exploring different writing avenues will.

4. If another writer tells you to "Show don't tell", ask them to show you, not tell you, what they mean.

5. If your muse fails to light, retreat to a safe distance, and wait a while before going back to your writing.

6. Good characters don't just have haloes, they have depth.

7. Telling a story without dialogue is like cooking without herbs - you're making a meal of it without enhancing the flavour.

8. Spell checkers don't all ways fund the thongs you hive miss spelt. Chick it buy I two!

9. Good writers read voraciously, bad writers write excessively, brilliant writers edit repeatedly.

10. Accept criticism with an open mind, and a closed mouth.

11. Meet everyone else's deadlines, but don't worry too much about your own.

12. A plot plan can be invaluable for mapping out the twists and turns in your story and identifying any flaws and inconsistencies in advance. Guy Fawkes never had one, and look what happened to him!

13. Contrary to popular belief, associating with fellow writers won't make you grow elbow patches but it will help you grow as a writer.

14. Sobriety may be slower for coming up with ideas, but there are far less typos.

15. Unless your writing is your hobby, it's better to self publicise than self publish.

And finally I'll leave you with this thought:

Writing a novel is a bit like abseiling down a cliff - they both involve cliffhangers, they both seem to go on forever, and they both develop such momentum you find it difficult to stop!