When you’re young, your childhood memories are the greatest source of inspiration for writing your next book.
But as your writing abilities improve, your memory starts to slip and you lose your knack for finding the right words to convey your message.
To remedy this, you’ll need to become a more deliberate and analytical writer.
“You can’t really be creative if you’re not thinking, ‘What do I want to say?'” says Simon Lloyd-Martin, author of How to Write a Great Book.
In his latest book, The Watchmaker’s Son, Lloyd-Martin explains that while you can be very creative when you’re writing a book, you should also learn how to focus your attention on the task at hand, rather than the notes you write.
“I’ve found that it’s important to write things in the right order,” says Lloyd- Martin.
“If I write something with an idea and it doesn’t come to me right away, I’ll start to think, ‘Oh well, that’s just a bit too fast’,” he adds.
“If I start to write something really well, I think, yeah, this is a great idea.”
For example, you could spend 10 minutes writing an introduction to a new book, only to realise it’s going to be about your work as a watchmaker.
Or you could start writing a story about your family history and then stop to think about how to make it relevant to your current book.
This doesn’t mean you should stop and think about the book, says Lloyd Martin, it just means you’ll spend less time thinking about it and more time writing the best possible version of it.
But it does mean that you need to be more careful when you go from one idea to the next, says Simon.
“When you have an idea for a new novel, you may want to be very precise, because you want to know what it is, how it should be written, and when you can do it,” he says.
“But you’ll start thinking, what if I do it wrong?
It’s much easier to just go with the flow.”
For more from Simon Lloyd Martin and his books, like his new book The Watchmakers Son and How to Be a Watchmaker, head to theguardian.com/books