‘I think I’ll write a book. Sound’s easy enough.’
I’m sure you’ve heard those words before, in some form or another. And with good reason. There’s something about the magic of books that fills people with all sorts of wonderful ideas of their own, and it’s not just about how many snacks you can justify eating. But think carefully about why you want to write a novel. Because not all of them are as good as you might think.
8 reasons to write a novel…
1. The challenge.
And it is a challenge. Creating the characters, the plot and weaving all those elements together. Then revising the 1st, 2nd, 3rd draft. Working on those revisions while managing beta readers and critique partners. Avoiding the urge to smack your head against your desk because you’re rewriting your opening scene for the 17th time… Writing takes hard work, determination and a lot of motivation.
2. It can teach discipline.
If you want to be serious, you need to set yourself a schedule. Not ‘I’ll write so and so words every day,’ because that can drain a person. But, ‘I’ll write 3000 words this week. I’ll revise this chapter by the end of the month. I’ll spend an hour tomorrow sorting out this plot hole.’ You need to be disciplined with your time and energy or you’ll never get anything done. Out with the procrastination and the ‘I’ll do it later.’ In with the ‘let’s get this done now dammit!’
3. It’s therapeutic.
Life stresses everyone out sometimes. Having something there to help relieve that stress is a good thing. For some people, writing is that thing. You drown out the real world and get lost in the one you’ve created. You can write out all of your frustration or anger or sadness and turn it into something creative. Nothing feels better than dropping your characters into a really bad situation with no way out and no hope.
4. You like being alone. Let’s be honest, while not all writers are introverts, being a writer is an occupation made for introverts. Writing is a solitary habit. Days upon days spent holed up in your living room/office/coffee shop ignoring the outside world unless you’re getting tea or a hard earned snack. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your own, talking to yourself because it’s going to happen.
5. It can boost your confidence. ‘I wrote a book,’ is one of the most fun things to say, until someone asks what your book is about and you run away screaming. It is such a confidence booster being able to say that you created something. Especially when you casually toss in how long you’ve been working on it. Writing a book shows such dedication, and the ‘wow, really?’ you get afterward is pretty cool.
6. It will make you smarter-er. Depending on genre and content, you will have to do a lot of research when writing a novel. The last thing you want to do is get something wrong and have someone point it out. If you get really deep into a subject, you’ll learn a lot. Even world-building for fantasy has a lot to teach.
7. To become immortal. And not in a creepy, vampire way. Whether your book is a best-seller or not, getting published is a way for your name to live on through your books. Your words, your message, your story is there for generations to come. Which is pretty cool.
8. To tell your story.
Everyone has a story in them. And one of the most important reasons to write a novel is to tell that story. Because whether you believe it or not, there is someone out there who needs to read your book. Your story will be as important to them, as it is to you.
And 3 reasons not to…
1. For money.
Most authors don’t make a lot of money. At all. You get an advance for your novel (in a various amount of different ways,) and in most cases, only start earning more money after a year or two. Writing may seem like a full time job with all the work you put in, but it will only give you part time pay. If you want to write a novel and become the next J.K.Rowling, think again.
2. For fame.
You know those people who think ‘I’m good at singing. I’ll go onto the X-Factor and get really famous,’ and they don’t? Writing is like that. With so many people sending in manuscripts and self-publishing, you will have to be some sort of magician to get instant fame. Or write really bad Twilight fanfiction. Either works.
13. Because it’s easy.
If you want to write a novel because you think it’s easy, then stop, turn around and go home. It is not easy to write a novel, and I will curse everyone with bad cake who says otherwise. Writing a novel- dedicating a lot of time and energy into creating something worth publishing is one of the most difficult things you will ever do.
What’s your reason for wanting to write a novel? Let me know in a comment below.
Good thoughts and happy writing!