How To Write A Book And Change Your Life

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Writing a book can change your life …

… whatever genre it is or whoever it is written for. If you want to take writing more seriously, it can become your career, as it has done for me.

Here are some key articles and resources on writing based on frequently asked questions and my own experiences. There are sections for writing fiction and non-fiction below. Just click on the links under the headings.

You can also check out the recommended books for writers here.

Getting Started

How to Write Fiction: 7 Steps to Write Your Novel

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

How to Find Time to Write

How to Find and Capture Ideas for your Novel

How to Research your Book and When to Stop

Self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome

You Have Permission

On Writing And The Fear Of Judgment

What is your Definition of Success as a Writer?

How To Write More And Create A Daily Writing Habit

How to Use Dictation to Write Faster and Become a Healthier Writer

Productivity for Writers: 5 Ways to Become More Productive

5 Ways To Get Your First Draft Material Out Of Your Head And Onto The Page

8 ways Scrivener will help you become a proficient writer

Using Different Author Names or a Pseudonym as a Writer

Editing and rewriting

Editing, revisions and proofreading: What happens after the first draft?

How to Find and Work With a Professional Editor

Tutorial: How to Improve your Writing with Grammarly 

My list of recommended editors


Resilience: How To Deal With Criticism And Rejection With Mark McGuinness

Writing Fiction

Writing Tips: How to Find and Capture Ideas for Your Novel

How to Research a Novel … And When to Stop

Writing Fiction: Bring Your Characters To Life With Roz Morris

How to write a novel with the snowflake method

Writing fiction. Improve your dialogue with James Scott Bell

Writing Metaphor, Memorable Characters And Horror With Chuck Wendig

Want to (finally) write your novel? Check out my multimedia course.

Writing A Series: 7 Continuation Issues To Avoid

5 Lessons Learned From Writing 10 Novels

What Are You Writing? Word Count. Standalone, Series or Serial

Writing, Illustrating And Marketing Books For Kids With Katie Davis

In the last five years, I’ve written 12 fiction books and 8 non-fiction books, but a few years ago, I had nothing! You’ll be encouraged to see how clueless I was when I started, so click here to see the journey of my first novel Stone of Fire – from idea to launch and then to finding an agent.

Writing Non-Fiction

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

Why write a non-fiction book?

Can I write a non-fiction book if I’m not an expert?

Business Models for Non-Fiction Books

Decide On The Book Title Of Your Non-Fiction Book

How long does your non-fiction book have to be?

How long will it take to write your non-fiction book?

Structure And Organize Your Non-Fiction Book

How To Write The First Draft Of Your Non-Fiction Book

Speed, Quality and Perfectionism

How To Turn A Boring Non-Fiction Book Into An Engaging Read

Legal Issues: Using Real People, Quotes, Lyrics, Images And Citing Sources

Self Editing a Non-Fiction Book

Writing memoir with Marion Roach Smith

Travel writing and achieving outrageous goals with Alastair Humphreys 

6 figure success self-publishing non-fiction with Steve Scott

Mindset for writers

The roller coaster of being a writer. Do you ever feel this way?

How Writers Deal with Self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome

The Writers’ Need for Validation

How Writers Deal With The Fear of Failure

Writing and the Fear of Rejection and Criticism

The Writer’s Inner Critic

How Writers Deal With The Fear Of Judgment

The Writer’s Quest For Excellence Vs. Perfectionism

Writer’s Block And Procrastination

How to Connect with Your Innate Creativity

Help! My Writing Isn’t Original

Why write? There are already too many books in the world.

Finding the Time and Discipline to Write

What To Do When Writing Feels Like Hard Work

Starting But Not Finishing Writing Projects

Dealing with Friends, Family, and Writers’ Groups

How do I find my writing voice?

Comparisonitis or “Everyone Else Is Better Than Me”

Creativity: Think Long Term. Create a Body of Work

The successful writer’s work ethic with Kerry Wilkinson

Writing thrillers and lessons learned from 40 years of writing with David Morrell (First Blood/Rambo)

Tips for a long term writing career and writing historical fiction with Colin Falconer

Build A Fulltime Writing Career Slowly With Lindsay Buroker


Inspiration for authors on resilience, accepting criticism and being an introvert with Clare Edwards

Struggling with self-doubt about your writing? Check out my book, The Successful Author Mindset, available as an ebook, print book and workbook as well as audiobook formats.

Want more?

Get the free Author 2.0 Blueprint and email/video mini-course here.

With all my books 🙂

You can find more articles on writing and creativity in the category backlist here.

If you need more help, check out my course, How to Write a Novel: From First Draft to Finished Manuscript

You can also check out the sections on self-publishing, book marketing and making a living with your writing.

You can also listen to The Creative Penn podcast on iTunes here, or check out the backlist of over 300+ episodes here.

Watch and subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Check out my fiction site, www.JFPenn.com











View Comments (51)

  • Hi-thank you for the great information on your website. I really enjoying reading your comments as they are very helpful. Do you know of any graphic artists/illustrator? If so, can you please provide their contact information?

  • Thank You Joanna for this information. It helps me to motivate myself on writing my stories and hopefully someday a novel for young readers. I have always enjoyed reading, writing and illustrating. My dream is to get started on writing a children's book and illustrating it. I feel discouraged when I get writers block which discourages me from finishing a story that I have started. I write in a journal on a daily basis and also fit in some drawing time to calm my mind down if I feel stressed out. Writing has helped me through some difficult times in my life. If I miss a journal entry for a day I feel that my day is complete until I write.
    You have a positive attitude. I want to thank you for sharing this site and giving me hope of maybe having a writing career.

  • Hello Joanna I am feeling a little bit nervous about the question I wish to put to you. I have just this week started my writing journey and it is full of excitement , fear and worry. With this I have started to write my first draft of a novel or series of books. The story is great in my mind but should I be scared? I consider my self not to be highly educated neither an expert in the English language. At school I struggled in most subjects, resulting in poor grades, my punctuation is not the best I feel and I can't help wondering if anyone can write IE ME ! The one thing that I do believe that I have is a great imagination and a desire to learn and change as a person. I no longer want to be a bricklayer but a writer instead.

    I should mention that only last year I took courses in English Maths and IT and gained a level 2 grade from Learn Direct. This has given me some confidence but sometimes I feel like my former self. Thank you and take care!

      • Thank you Joanna the article was Wonderful to read and a good confidence booster. So with this I'm going to continue writing and remember the quote at the start of the article. Page 8 here we come! Silvia my Protagonist is becoming more real if she could speak she would like to say hello! Take care Joanna, I'm off to amazon to buy a Penn.

  • Daniel I'm also writing a book and would like to recommend a very good book by Jack Canfield, called The Success Principles. It's a real confidence booster. (I'm not affiliated with it!) There are also some great books on grammar which will help you brush up. I've learnt loads from Joanna's site and listen to her podcasts too. Good luck :)

    • Thank you Caroline, I will try and get the Jack Canfield book as suggested , I'm always open minded to get advice. I would also like to wish you good luck with your book , perhaps you could let me know how things are going . Take care! :-)

  • I got into The Creative Penn after reading Pentecost for my review site. I then found my way to Joanna's website and have been catching up on the podcasts and I must say I do have the urge to see what would happen if I attempted writing a novel instead of reviewing them!
    I wish all of you attempting it or in the throws of writing it all the best, you can't go wrong with the wealth of information Joanna has on this site. Once I have saved up the money I shall be buying what I can A for the information included but B to support Joanna.
    Thanks for all the hard work and effort that goes into the site and for three excellent novels (although you know I wish they were a little longer!)

  • Dear Joanna -

    I want to tell you that I recently discovered you on Youtube. Your videos are always informative and a bit entertaining. I subscribed to your Youtube Channel. Now I'm subscribing to one of your blogs!

    I will be publishing my first eBook to Amazon's KDP in either mid June or early July 2013. I'm looking for multiple paid and free ways to promote the eBook. I recently went to the YA book directory site. They have way too many bloggers to choose from! What YA blogger and/or reviewer could you recommend that I get in touch with to promote the book?

    Keep the Youtube videos coming!

    Yours in publishing and promoting success -

    Tony Miller
    Author of the YA Novella, "The Fanatic"

    • Hi Tony - you need to plough through all the reviewers to work out who would be best for your book. You can also google book reviews for similar books to yours and then see who reviewed them.

  • Dear joanna Penn,
    Hi, I am from India but living in Saudi Arab. I know Hindi language, I have self write books in Hindi (Language). so please guide me how i can e published my book?
    A khan

  • Hi Joanna,

    First heard of you through Al Humphreys. I was amused to hear that his mum typed-up his travel journals! I tried to get mine to do the same, alas she is yet to capitulate to my demands and it looks like I'll have to unravel my own scrawl.

    Thanks for sharing this great list of resources. I'll dipping in and out of as my writing bounds across genres.

  • Hi Joanna,

    First heard of you through Al Humphreys. I was amused to hear that his mum typed-up his travel journals! I tried to get mine to do the same, alas she is yet to capitulate to my demands and it looks like I'll have to unravel my own scrawl.

    Thanks for sharing this great list of resources.

  • Dear Joanna,
    Thank you for your valuable input. I, too, am a newly published first-time author. It took me from Christmas of 1995 to work on the entire series, but I finally managed to spread it out and make it a series. Other books (and genres) come to mind, as well, but that is neither here nor there. I shall bookmark your site and continue to do more than just browsing, but learn from it and your valuable insights.
    You can read the first five chapters of my novel "Pawns of Prophecy" on my facebook page under Writer's group. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please stay in touch with me.
    Your's in "Penn"manship,
    Cathryn Jill Adams
    P.S. Cathryn Jill Adams is a pseudonym for my real name.