I came to writing for publication later in life, after a well-established career in another industry. The first thing I noticed was that a writer\u2019s life can be very lonely. We writers have to spend a lot of time on our own gathering information, jotting down ideas, honing our craft and eventually bringing our writing to fruition.\r\n\r\nHere is where the irony lies: our ability to be keen observers of the world around us \u2013 and the quiet world within us \u2013 is what makes us writers in the first place. Yet we have to be separate, in order for our ideas to manifest themselves.\r\n\r\nI have created these tips to help writers in their time of need, when it all seems too hard, when the words don\u2019t just come, when self-doubt takes over and you feel very alone. These tips\u00a0have become my mantra and have helped me drown the voice of doubt, which is never too far away.\r\n\r\n21 insightful writing tips for those new to the writing game. Image Credit: PhotoSteve101 via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\n1. Don\u2019t give up. Be persistent\r\nBelieve that you have the ability and put time aside every day. Why else would it be the thing that you think about most? I have been writing journals for most of my life. And took two years to get published.\r\n2. Ignore the (inner) critic\r\nYou can train yourself to switch off the critic that lives inside your head. In the same way that you train yourself to switch off the busy-ness at night in order to go to sleep (that\u2019s when I think of calm things like walking on the beach or swimming in the sea). Just change the focus. Easier said than done! Practice helps.\r\n3. Write down what comes to mind\r\nMy best writing has been when it hasn\u2019t been planned too much. Then I go back later and edit, expand, tighten. Forget about the rules at first. Let it all out. The first draft should come from the heart, the ensuing drafts from the head.\r\n4. Be prepared for inspiration at any time\r\nArtist Lloyd Rees (1895 \u2013 1988) drew initial sketches for his landscapes on cigarette boxes as he was travelling on the bus. When you least expect it an idea will come to you. Don\u2019t rely on your memory. I have found this doesn\u2019t work! By the time you wait for the right moment to jot down your fantastic idea or observation it will have grown wings and taken flight. Sometimes I have stopped driving en route to my day job to put pen to paper when inspiration strikes (no car accidents yet).\r\n5. Do the leg work\r\nI have found that what you put in to writing you get out, like anything in life. Be prepared to edit an article at least 8 \u2013 10 times (sleeping on it and revisiting it the next day when you are fresh is helpful). Also research your subject thoroughly.\r\n6. Keep it simple\r\nDon\u2019t agonise about where or how you are going to write. Just make sure you do it regularly. I have three places that I go to for writing in my tiny house: the garage, the bedroom and at the dining room table (it depends on which room is not occupied).\r\n7. Make writing accessible\r\nThe more you do it the easier the habit becomes. A bit like brushing your teeth (and hopefully nothing like pulling teeth). You won\u2019t notice the effort after a while. Writing is still not easy to do however! Journalist Nora Ephron (1941 \u2013 2012) said "the hardest thing about writing is writing".\r\n8. Find the best writing time in your day\r\nFor me this is definitely first thing in the morning when I have a clear head and the internal judge hasn\u2019t woken up yet.\r\n9. Read it out loud\r\nSometimes when I am wrestling with a piece I need to take a fresh look at it. Reading it out loud can help me view it more objectively. Does it sound punchy enough for a publisher to want it? Is it conveying the message succinctly enough?\r\n10. Have post it notes at the ready\r\nSome years ago I attended creative writing classes with Anna Carmody (Editor of Bondi Shorts 1 and 2). She gave some great advice for all the \u2018noise\u2019 that comes up when we try to sit quietly to write: have post it notes at the ready for all the niggling reminders that pop up and distract your progress (for example: pick up dry cleaning). You can then scribble them down if they persist, to be reckoned with later.\r\n11. Be prepared to make sacrifices\r\nThis year I am leaving the chaos of family and city life every 4 - 6 weeks for a weekend writing sabbatical. Hardly a sacrifice some would say (I am married to a chef so there is sacrifice in leaving him behind!). I have my family\u2019s full support in doing this. I have stood up invitations to social gatherings when there has been a writing deadline. Friends and family will respect your decision.\r\n12. Seek out supporters\r\nAs human beings we can\u2019t carry on by ourselves for too long. Find a writing group or email pals who will support you and vice versa. Thanks to the internet there are many literary communities\u00a0to choose from.\r\n13. Allow new people into your life\r\nI find I spend less time with friends who don\u2019t really support my creative self and more time with the new ones I have found through writing. We can\u2019t be friends with everyone, especially now that we have to find time to write as well!\r\n14. Accept advice\r\nWriting is a lonely occupation. We are not engineered to do things all on our own. The solitary act of writing can sometimes skew our perspective. Take advice on board from other writers, and editors.\r\n15. Set realistic goals\r\nMake a plan for yourself that is achievable in the time frame you have, for example:\u00a0today I will draft a post for my blog and do \u00bd hour\u2019s research on my article about keeping a pet in the city.\r\n16. Know your audience\r\nI have had work rejected on the decision that the readership is not suitable. This has been perhaps the most invaluable advice I have received to date. Research the genre and tone of the publications that will best suit your style of writing. Find the publisher for your piece before you write your article, not the other way round.\r\n17. Hedge your bets \u2013 for your ego\u2019s sake!\r\nI try to submit more than one article at a time for consideration. That way you can show the publisher you are keen, flexible, a hard worker and your ego won\u2019t be so hurt when one is rejected!\r\n18. Change tack, take a break\r\nWhen the words and ideas won\u2019t come or you are stuck at a juncture, go and weed the garden, walk round the block or put on a load of washing. This will help filter your ideas in your subconsciousness. You will find that your perspective has changed when you sit down to continue writing.\r\n\r\nFor me, healthy body is healthy mind. Moving the focus away and back again through exercise can produce fruit for the imagination. Swimming for me helps exorcise demons. My body emerges from the water singing. There is a sense of renewal, a clean slate when I have taken a break to exercise.\r\n19. Keep a record of your progress\r\nWrite down everything that you have achieved. Including the baby steps. This helps you see the big picture and also calms the ego when you feel totally exasperated (which you will!). It also serves as evidence that you are taking your writing seriously.\r\n20. Celebrate wins.\r\nLet the world know when you have been published. I did and do! It makes the hard slog worthwhile and also affirms publicly your intentions to be taken seriously as a writer.\r\n21. Feel the fear and do it anyway.\r\nWhat have you got to lose? We are not on this planet for very long so you may as well give it a go. Buddhists believe that we are all on death row, just at different places along it. A sobering thought. So get writing and best of luck!