Well, here’s a subject I could bore for hours on. but, to boil my thinking down to a few (fiction focused) nuggets…
1- Writing a book is like running a marathon - the core skill of walking is beyond few of us, but it’s a very different accomplishment. Don’t start that marathon without training runs. Start with little distances (blog posts?), progress to longer runs (flash fiction / events like Novel-in-a-Day), then short stories, then novellas, then your novel.
2- Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That way lies failure and madness.
3- The goal should be to enjoy writing. Try to be someone who loves writing, not some who would love to have written a book. That way, you’ll have a hobby that gives you untold pleasure for the rest of your life, and you’ll be far more likely to actually finish a book.
4- Don’t save your best ideas for later / when you’re more experienced. Always write your best idea, the one you’re most excited about, now. You’ll have more fun, will be more likely to finish, the final product will be better, and you will always have more great ideas once you get your current favourite out of your head and on the page.
5- Make sure all your ideas are POOEE. That is to say, you know the Protagonist, the Objective, the Obstacle, the Escalation and the Ending. That’s not all you need to construct a great story by any stretch, and of course many great stories are written without knowing those in advance. For me, though, answering each of those points with an answer that makes me smile is how I know I have a idea that has a finishable story in it that I would want to read.
6- Time your editing to maximise your enthusiasm. I never stop to edit if I’m in the flow of writing. If it starts to stall, I’ll go back an edit a chapter and give it a good polish. If really stuck, I’ll go back an re-edit something I’m already pleased with. It always turns up something I can tweak, plus it reminds me what I love about the story and gets me excited about moving forward again.
7- Some people have a hard time quitting /abandoning a book that isn’t working, and some people are great at it. Personally, I could be better at it and tend to outsource the decision to trusted friends. So, have friends, I guess is my tip here?
8- The most important spec on any computer you use for writing is the keyboard. Make sure you love typing on it… hopefully you’ll be doing a lot of it! A distant second is the monitor (size, resolution).
9- Research is fun. Just remember that most of it is for your benefit, not the reader’s benefit. As a general rule, I treat research as helping me understand the world (real / created) well enough that whatever I write isn’t inconsistent with it. Fiction isn’t an academic essay. You shouldn’t “show” your working / sources.
10- Typewriters don’t kill people, authors do. Remember that the software is just a tool. Learn the bits you need to, only when you need to… otherwise it’s just a distraction. Open Scrivener, create a new project from the blank template, create a new document in the binder and start typing in the editor. When you’re ready, you’ll create a second document and write in that. When you’re ready you’ll figure folders to clump things together. Don’t worry about compile, or any other those other things until it’s time. Then dip into the manual, the tutorial, ask questions here, and watch a video on YouTube. We’ll help.