You want to write a novel?
Get in line.
It seems like most people at some point or another want to write a novel, whether or not they have written (or read) creative writing in years. Some are pompous buffoons who are so filled with themselves that they assume the world is dying to read the story of their lives. Some are fame seekers thinking that it really can’t be that hard to write a bestselling novel. Others are true writers.
True writers think about their stories constantly- in fact, we obsess over them in a manner that can’t quite be considered healthy. True writers devour books like they are emotionally eating during family gatherings. True writers must write because they love to write (even though they hate it sometimes and feel like it is destroying their lives).True writers think about their stories constantly- in fact, we obsess over them in a manner that can’t quite be considered healthy. Click To Tweet True writers devour books like they are emotionally eating during family gatherings. Click To Tweet True writers must write because they love to write (even though they hate it sometimes and feel like it is destroying their lives). Click To Tweet
But not every writer was meant to write novels.
Novels are an intense time and emotional commitment that not everyone is suited for. Some writers were born to write short stories, others to paint pictures with poetry, and some to write delightful children’s books. However, many writers feel like they have to be novelists. That’s where the money is, right? Well, yes, usually if someone is going to pay you to write, they will pay more for a three-hundred-page novel than a three-paged short story. But it’s very difficult to get a novel published in the first place, and even most novelists with published books can be categorized as ‘starving artists’.
Even if short stories, poetry, and other written works can’t bring in as much money as a good novel can, writers should write what they write best. For a true writer, the art comes first; money and recognition are merely an afterthought.For a true writer, the art comes first; money and recognition are merely an afterthought. Click To Tweet
Below are some of the worst reasons to write a novel. If any of these reasons are the motives behind your novel, it is HIGHLY unlikely that you will either finish the novel and/or have it turn out to be something that is decent.
So why shouldn’t I write a novel?
I’m glad you asked.
Because You Probably Won’t Make a Living From It.
You probably aren’t going to get rich writing novels. Depressing, right? I feel like, as writers, we are constantly being told about how little money we are going to make. If it’s not a downer blogger (like yours truly), it’s a well-meaning (or maybe not) relative or friend. Am I the only one who gets a horrified stare when I tell people I am a novelist? Then there is the beautiful follow-up question: “No, I meant, what is your REAL job?” The truth is, some people do make good money writing novels, and most people don’t. But if you are dedicated and persistent, there is nothing stopping you from becoming one of the few. The only problem is, if you write for the love of money, your book will probably turn out disconnected and cold (and you’ll probably be disappointed, too). But if you write for the love of writing, your efforts will eventually turn out a work of art that will matter to the world. Motives are everything.If you write for the love of money, your book will probably turn out disconnected and cold (and you'll probably be disappointed, too). But if you write for the love of writing, your efforts will eventually turn out a work of art… Click To Tweet
Because Writing Is Work First, Recognition Later.
Writing a novel can take an insane amount of time. Sure, some writers prep in October, then write 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo in November. At the end of one month of prep and one month of writing, they have a decent novel. But that isn’t most writers. Most writers can’t write anything worth reading in a month. In fact, novels can take years to write. That would be fine, of course, if during those years novelists got steady paychecks for writing their novel, daily thank you notes filled with encouragement, and constant reassurance that they are amazing writers. But that, my friends, is a fantasy, not reality. In reality, writers spend years writing alone, discouraged, and unappreciated before anyone even gets to read their novel. Even then there is no guarantee that the readers will like the novel.
Because Writing Is Stressful.
As a writer, I can personally attest to the fact that being a writer can be stressful. Like, tearing one’s own hair out because they are so stressed type of stressful. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Throw Mama From the Train?’ Remember how the main character was being driven mad by the first sentence of his novel? Although dramatized, that was an incredibly realistic look at what it means to be a writer. Sometimes your character is persistently robotic, and your dialogue is cheesy, and you write 30,000 words just to realize that they make no sense and have to be deleted. Oh, and the enraging frustrations that accompany the realization that your computer crashed, and you NEVER SAVED THE NOVEL YOU WERE WORKING ON FOR FOREVER. But, uh, that’s never happened to me…
Because Getting Published is Almost Impossible.
How can this be? New books are being released every day! True, true, but the books being published are NOTHING compared to the books authors are trying to get published. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I would compare it to one book being published for every 100 (if not more) books being offered by new authors to publishers. The truth is, getting a book published is hard. It will likely mean getting dozens of rejections before even a hint of success, and that hint may never appear or never pan out.
Because Everyone Is a Critic.
Everyone. Like everyone. No, really, EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Tell me, what’s worse: having your mother constantly gripe because she doesn’t like the maternal character in your novel that she is certain is based on her, or reading an online review read by thousands of people completely bashing your novel as garbage? Can any writer be fully prepared to scroll through GoodReads and read review after review of pompous critics saying their novel was ‘just missing something’ or ‘too boring’. After spending countless hours writing a novel, no one wants to hear about all its flaws and shortcomings. Unfortunately, though, that’s what comes with being a writer. It’s unavoidable and incredibly painful.
Because You May Go Crazy.
After reading the other five reasons you shouldn’t be a writer, this reason shouldn’t be surprising. Writers are known to suffer from self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. Being a writer means secluding yourself. It means locking yourself in a room until your word count goal is accomplished or you can’t remember what sunshine looks like…whichever comes first. It means talking to yourself far more than any normal person should, and having an incredibly unhealthy relationship with your thesaurus. Boy, sounds like fun, right?Being a writer means locking yourself in a room until your word count goal is accomplished or you can’t remember what sunshine looks like…whichever comes first. Click To Tweet
Are you trying to say that no one should ever write a novel?
Certainly not! Where would our world be without novels? It would be a dark and dreary place, that is for sure. So how do you know if you should write a novel?
Reasons You Should Still Write a Novel:
- You aren’t in it for the money. You could starve for all you care, but you must write.
- You don’t care about recognition. You write for you.
- Even though writing can be stressful, not writing is even worse. Writing is your therapy, your chaotic sense of calm.
- You don’t care if you get published or not. You aren’t in this for fame. And if you do try to get published, you know you will persist until you have succeeded because your words must be read.
- The critics can jump in a lake for all you care. You’re proud of what you write, and that’s all that matters to you.
- You’re already mad, so you might as well be a writer.
If you really want to be a novelist, don’t let anything (or anyone) stop you. Sit down and write, write, write. If you are willing to work hard and persistently, there is no height you cannot reach.If you really want to be a novelist, don’t let anything (or anyone) stop you. Sit down and write, write, write. If you are willing to work hard and persistently, there is no height you cannot reach. Click To Tweet
Leave a comment down below! Tell me if and why you decided to write a novel.
Decided to write a novel? Click here to read ‘5 Steps to Create a Writing Routine (And How to Stick With It)‘.