Should You Write a Novel?
Writing a novel is an incredibly rewarding experience. The ability to say, even if only to yourself, I sent characters on the journey of a lifetime or I wrote nearly 100,000 words, is worth all the time and effort you have to put into accomplishing that. That doesn’t mean it’s for everybody.
This should go without saying, but before you even consider writing a novel, you have to love writing. That means you’re willing to postpone watching your favorite TV show and turn your phone off for a few hours to write.
You don’t develop this passion by jumping into a novel. Instead, focus on shorter works for some time. Write flash fiction or short stories. Maybe write scenes that could later go into your book.
Trust me, the last thing you want to do is begin writing a novel only to realize writing is a chore to you. Take your time before jumping into a project that will change your life (hopefully for the better).
You don’t just have to have a passion for writing, but to dedicate yourself to writing hundreds of pages about a single plot and cast of characters, you need to be passionate about your story. Maybe you lay awake at night thinking of the perfect plot twist or spend your free time drawing your characters. This isn’t an odd hobby; it’s the perfect way to build your love for your story.
Ask yourself why the world needs this story. Who will it impact, and how? And, more importantly, think about why you need to be the person who tells the story. What experiences make you qualified to write this? I promise, no two authors will write the same story the same way, but you need to understand what will make the way you convey the message differently.
There are a number of things you can do with a love for writing: you can freelance, you can write flash fiction or short stories, etc. A passion for writing shouldn’t be the sole reason you decide to write a novel.
On the same note, having a story to tell isn’t a sufficient reason to write a book. You could tell it verbally or write a play.
Remember, writing a novel is a years-long project. Be sure this is the format you want to use.
Each draft of a novel can take months to write. You have to revise and edit from an objective perspective. You may need to find beta readers and editors. If you plan to publish traditionally, you will need an agent and a publisher.
Ask yourself if you’re willing and able to put the time and effort in to write a novel. You will have to persevere through writer’s block and negative feedback.
Truth be told, you shouldn’t expect to become rich and famous by writing. You can hope for it, and with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, you may well become the next Rick Riordan, but most authors barely make enough to get by.
But writing gives you countless intangible things, each of which is arguably more important than fame and money.
You’ll be able to keep track of your progress. At first, every thousand words will make you smile. When you reach ten thousand words, you might jump up and down.
By the time you finish the first draft of your book, you will be able to look back at the first chapter with pride. Your writing style will have improved greatly and you’ll be more confident when revising the beginning.
When you finish your novel, you will have gone on a journey with your characters—a journey no other person ever will experience in the same way.
In the end, whether or not your writing changes the world, it will change someone’s life. That someone may be yourself, a friend or family member who falls in love with your characters, or a stranger who falls in love with reading because of your writing style.
Changing Your Mind
If there is one thing you remember from this post, I hope it’s this: it is okay to change your mind. If you set off to write a novel but discover your plot will only last a novella or a short story, you don’t need to write a full-length novel. If you planned to write a novel for traditional publishing but decide to enter it in a contest instead, go for it.
This also applies to changing your plot or any other details of your story. Like I’ve said before, use your judgment. Don’t force writing.
Writing has the power to change your life if you let it, but it is up to you to make sure that change is for the better. Don’t force yourself to write a novel. Cultivate a love for your story and for writing, and let that love force you to write a book.