1. Don’t try to do too much at once. Although it may be true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, try not to think about where the journey will take you. Instead, try to focus on what you can do on a day-to-day basis.
2. Decide what you want from your writing. Do you write purely for your own pleasure? Do you write as therapy? Do you enjoy sharing your fanfic online? Are you writing a story to entertain your grandchildren? Are you seeking to be published commercially? Whatever your reasons, and on whatever level you choose, writing can be a rewarding, enriching occupation that can bring joy to you and to others.
3. Manage your expectations. Don’t assume that by writing you’re going to make millions, attract girls (or boys) or get to hang out with famous people. For the most part, the best that will happen is that you’ll do a lot of writing. Make sure that’s what you really want.
4. Manage your time. If you don’t actively make time to write, then you’ll never get round to it.
5. Manage your workspace. Decide where you are going to write and try to make it as accessible and as welcoming as possible.
6. Make sure you have the right tools to allow your writing to fit into your lifestyle. If you’re on the move throughout the day, you might prefer a laptop or a writing app that you can use on your phone. If you’re going to be working from home, you might prefer to work on a PC. And of course there’s always the time-honoured notebook-and-pen combo...
7. Find a beta reader. Not everyone wants to share their work, but writing can be a lonely business. It can help to get feedback from a sympathetic, honest reader – and having an audience, even of one, can help with motivation.
8. Join an online community. It’s so easy nowadays to get in touch with other writers, bloggers, editors or agents – and you can learn a lot from interacting with other people who may be on the same path.
9. Join the Society of Authors, or the Authors’ Guild (If you haven’t been published yet, you can still join as an Associate Member or Friend of the Society). With its quarterly magazine, free legal advice, contract services, social events, literary prizes, grants and lectures on different aspects of publishing, it’s well worth the membership fee.
10. Finally, give yourself permission to write. You can do it. It’s allowed. No-one’s going to laugh at you or say you’re not a proper writer – not anyone who matters, anyway.