About writing

Kirsten Arcadio's writing deskI’ve been writing all my life, but I only started looking at the business seriously in 2011, after the birth of my third and last child instigated thoughts about why I continued to delay long-held ambitions when my life seemed complete in many other areas. What was I waiting for?

On 14 February 2014 I published my first novel, Borderliners. My second and third novels, Split Symmetry and WorldCult, were published later the same year and my fourth novel, Zeitgeist, was published this year (2017).

I’m not going to lie. Ambitious plans for success in the field of novel writing are unrealistic for all but the the most determined (and, yes, I mean the most determined rather than the most gifted). However, if you tackle it in a manner akin to learning any other life skill, it becomes easier. If it takes ten years to learn a musical instrument to Grade 8 standard it will take the same to write a novel good enough to reach, touch and convince a wider audience. I’m on my fifth book now – Grade 5 standard, if you like my analogy – and the longer I write, the more I realise how much further there is to go.

My writing journey

How did I get this far? To find out more, take a look at all my various thoughts about writing:

  • I took a creative writing course with Faber Academy.
  • Then I kept working, looking at the blogs and thoughts of others along the way. Wired for Story was an extremely useful book, as was On Writing by Stephen King.
  • I decided to write every day, and to just write no matter how I felt.
  • I made some top ten lists for myself, based on what I’d learned: top ten rules for writing fiction, top ten editing tips, top ten things which might put readers off your novel. I made my own recipe for novel writing and thought a lot about the art of writing.
  • I fretted a lot about the first ten pages of my books, arguably the most difficult to pull off.
  • I realised I had to read a lot more, and read as a writer.
  • I got to the end of the first draft of my first book.
  • I worried a lot about genre, and which genre I was writing in, or if I was writing cross-genre.
  • Eventually I decided to do a course on exploring genre, which helped a lot.
  • I drank a lot of wine.
  • I decided to self-publish. Take a look at my section on self-publishing and production (including editing, cover design and formatting).
  • Later I experimented with hybrid indie publishing, with mixed feelings.
  • Finally, I decided the creative process was my true motivation, so I got on with more writing and worried less about genre. I know this is because I’ve now learned the basics of planning, plotting, living through the characters and honing the drafts to perfection, which means that now it’s time to move on to the rest.

Watch this space… NaNoWrMo 17 is coming up and I’ll be there. If you want to join me, let me know via my Facebook page or Twitter account.

4 Responses to About writing

  1. Wow! What an intensely motivating piece, Kirsten! It’s almost like one can visually follow your journey toward publication. I’m beyond thrilled that you have made (and you have MADE it), and I hope it’s encouraging to know how much you’re inspiring others to keep on writing, and just get it out there for people to read. I’m sure this is the beginning of a wonderful new journey as a writer, and you are right: Why write for others when you can do it for yourself?

    Great job, and good luck with the rest of the trilogy!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Awais, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I wish I’d started writing earlier, but better late than never!

  3. Pat Taylor

    Hi Kirsten,

    I’ve tried one of your tips ‘drinking a lot of wine’ but it doesn’t work. The more wine I drink the worse my writing becomes.

    However, the rest is good advice and I’m trying to hang on to your coat tails.

    Well done,


  4. hi Pat

    Maybe the wine point was more a comment than actual advice!

    I’d agree it’s not a great idea, although I like to write at night so the wine seems a natural accompaniment. I should have mentioned – and maybe I will add this – that music is another element which helps me to write (but not edit).


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