From The Archives: Why Writing a Novel is a Good Thing–Even If You Never Get it Published

And here's one final offering from the archives, back in September of 2012.

Yeah, so, you want to write a novel.  And you're even thinking of doing Nanowrimo this year. (Nanowrimo = National Novel Writing Month, just in case you don't know, and it's in November.) 

But then the voices begin:                             

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The dreaded blank page.
The dreaded blank page.

You'll never get published.

Why bother?

It's a waste of time.

You could be doing other things.  Worthy things.

You think you can write?

Who do you think you are to write a novel?

And so on.  I'm sure you know the variations.

But I'm here to tell you otherwise.  To inform you that writing a novel, in and of itself, for no other reason than to do it, is a worthy activity.  It is.  Even if you never get published.  (Which, with all the publishing options we've got these days, you probably will, one way or another.) And here's why:

1.  It's a creative act.  And the world needs as many of these as we can get. Creativity breeds creativity, just as energy breeds energy.  Who knows what spending time writing this novel might lead to?  It might lead to a best-selling novel, or an amazing idea in another area.  And, it doesn't matter if that doesn't happen because the simple act of sitting down to create is important.

2.  Novels change the world, in big ways and in little ways.  Novels deliver stories, which we're hard-wired to accept, and stories change us.  Think of novels with grand, culture-baring themes.  Or remember how you felt the last time you read a small, intimate novel.  It changed you a little, didn't it?  And that's how changing the world happens–one person at a time.

3. Novel writing makes you happy.  At least it makes me happy.  I love it.  And I presume that it will make you happy, too.  Lest you think that happiness is an unworthy goal, remember that none other than the Dalai Lama says that happiness is the point of life.

4.  Writing a novel is an accomplishment.  The first time I finished a novel (it's the one sitting in my office cupboard)I was so amazed at how much oomph it took that I vowed to respect every single book ever written, even the crappiest romance novel.  And I do.  You should too–especially the one you're writing now.

5.  Writing a novel hones your skills.  And remember, getting better at one thing affects the way you do everything.  Improving your novel writing will impact your blog posts.  And your articles.  And your diet.  As the ancients used to say, as above, so below.

6.  Writing a novel helps you understand the world.  To write a novel, you must populate it with characters, and to create characters, you must understand people.  And, guess what?  People are what make our world go around.  Writing a novel helps you understand them.

7. It's your deepest, most heartfelt desire.  Don't let that desire go unanswered.  Go do it already. 

Here's what I recommend: create your own list of reasons to write a novel.  Name it the Novel-Writing Manifesto, or something a bit less grandiose.  Post it next to your computer.  Read it often–especially after something has shaken your confidence.  It'll snap you right back into a novel-writing space.

What are your reasons for writing a novel (or any project)? Do you use them to steer yourself back on course?

And if you'd like help with your novel-writing effort, remember my Get Your Novel Written Now Class begins in October!

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5 Comments on "From The Archives: Why Writing a Novel is a Good Thing–Even If You Never Get it Published"

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Dyoung
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Dyoung

I have a list. They may be along the lines of what you posted here. But here are my reasons- (in addition to what you have because I agree completely)

– I have a story to tell
– I want to show MYSELF I can do it
– it may lead to other, bigger stories
– I don’t intend to get rich from it
– writing balances my life (see comment in previous post)
– keeps people in my life guessing : )

J.D.
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J.D.
I began with reasons similar to D’s above. But I didn’t know my own story and it is still a bit elusive. In the meantime I wrote a mystery–hardly a soul baring project. I had a pinch of success, enough that I felt compelled to write a follow-up. Now the second is out and neither is a map to my soul or anyone else’s. If I want that I have to put it between the lines of the third one. That’s not to say I can’t write other projects, but I think it’s a way to make my mystery better.… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
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J.D., you know I adore your mysteries.  But the other story you're going to tell, the one that started to come out in France–that is one powerful piece.  And I know you're up for writing it.  

J.D.
Guest
J.D.
Thnaks. That’s encouraging. My parents were very religious. My father said even when you find your path, the Devil will be whispering all these negative things in your ear. Damn, is that ever true. lol. The Devil will even say you don’t know what your truth is. Maybe that was the deal Webster made–just get the SOB to shut up. I’m working on it. I’m taking a stab at it. Of course, you will hear from me because I need your help. Thanks for the comment. We are all waiting until you are back here in your usual spot. So… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
Guest

I've got the devil whispering at me…and he's in the internet and my email inboxes.  I am such an information hound that those twin sirens constantly call my name…and I have to force myself away from them, back to my work.

I'm happy to be home!  It was such a great trip but I was ready to be back.

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