Now, I'm only working on my second novel so I know I am no expert. But I did learn some handy tips and tricks while writing my first and after all, the internet was created to share wisdom... and watch YouTube videos of cats of course!
Have an Idea - this is very important. Have several ideas, find them in the world around you, find them in the café, the supermarket... that conversation you have with your bestie about the guy you went to school with who now works as a stripper in Ibiza. Ideas are all around you, you just need to be open to them. When you get an idea that sends tingles down your spine and gives you goosebumps, the idea you know will be a bestseller within a month and have a film contract within a year - this is the one. This. Is. The. One.
Once you've got your idea, turn it into a plot - (this could take several months), write it down. Make sure to write it on a random piece of paper that you will store away safely - I.e. You'll forget where it is after two days and have to re-write it several times until you buy an actual notebook.
While you're writing the idea and plot, be sure to leave it half-finished so as not to destroy the creative process.
Buy yourself a notebook - make sure it is full of inspirational quotes to keep your creative juices flowing.
When you're ready to start the serious task of starting the novel - be warned this could be months or even years from the initial idea - sit down and admire your new notebook.
Doodle in the notebook.
Make yourself a drink - nobody can write a bestseller without a decent cup of tea or coffee beside them.
Make a list of productive tasks - character profiles, potential plot holes, character arcs, important research, etc.
Make another drink.
Take a walk - for creative inspiration.
Look at the list again and rearrange it in order of priority.
Spend three hours thinking of good names for your main characters - honestly, this is the hardest part of writing any novel! You don't realise how many people you know until you need to think up a compelling name for the main character. Maybe that's just me.
Switch on the computer/laptop and spend an hour on Instagram while it loads up.
Write the title of the book and the first paragraph - overthink absolutely everything - delete and rewrite 700 times until it is just right.
Have a well-earned soak in the bath.
Go to bed - set your alarm for seven am - you will wake up refreshed and motivated.
Press the snooze button fifteen times before rolling out of bed and drinking lots and lots of coffee - this will wake you up enough to continue - with the bonus of giving you loads of energy to finally clear out your wardrobe.
Clear out your wardrobe.
Realise it's 3 pm and probably time you started some writing.
Start writing, rewrite every sentence until it is just right - it will take several weeks to finish that first chapter.
Make sure you take a break from the computer at least once an hour - you can use this time to check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter - I like to alternate between the three to keep it fresh.
Finish the first chapter and congratulate yourself with a glass (bottle) of prosecco,
Forget about the book for at least two weeks - life is busy and you will have gossip to catch up on.
When you remember the abandoned book and the guilt sets in - repeat the steps above.
This is a foolproof plan to write a bestselling novel in approximately three years - remember, you can't rush perfection :) - you will occasionally get bursts of sudden creative energy and manage to writ two or three chapters in one week - this doesn't happen very often so make the most of it.
Of course, this is in jest, although it is scarily accurate in some places and the guilt of procrastination is overwhelming at times (Should I really be re-watching The Handmaids Tale for the third time when I could be working on my book? etc) - I actually wrote the first draft of my novel in a year.
If you are thinking about writing a novel these rules are a good place to start: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/rules-for-writing-a-good-novel#the-10-rules-of-writing-a-good-novel
You'll find some great tips there.
Also, I cannot recommend Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody enough - for the planning process, it has been a Godsend!
Any of the Creative Writing courses at the Open University are brilliant - I'm currently doing the MA in Creative writing and loving it!
There are many more useful links, books and advice from actual seasoned writers - Stephen King's On Writing is fantastic - but then again, I'm biased there as he's just my favourite person ever. But, I would be here all day listing them all. So I won't. But if you are interested in writing a novel, they are out there to find.
I'm not affiliated with any of the people/groups/organisations above - I just thought I'd throw a little good advice.
Does anyone else have any useful websites/links/books to share on writing? Please let me know, I'm always looking to expand my knowledge - And if any seasoned writers have any tips on staying focussed on one project - I'm all ears.
I wish you a wonderful and productive day - whatever that means for you,