Are You Sure You Want to Write a Novel?

If all you want to do is write, go for it.  You don’t have to get permission or a license.  All you need is a pencil and paper, or maybe a computer, depending on how serious you take your endeavor. If writing a novel is a future goal, then this is one way to hone your skills.  

Many professionals recommend that you start out small.  You could write an article for the local paper, a magazine, or even consider a blog. This would not only improve your writing skills but build up the resume you will need later when approaching an agent/publisher.

If you do want to write a novel, you should know it’s hard work. Those people who say, “Anybody can write a book, how hard can it be?” They’ve never written a novel and most definitely never had one published. You have to research, outline, draft and redraft, not to mention the countless revisions.

 I completed revisions of my first novel 4-5 times.  I lost count to be honest, and these revisions didn’t include the numerous times I reworked scenes or random sentences that didn’t read quite right. Did I mention combing it for grammatical and structural errors. That’s a lot of fun, especially if you aren’t an English major.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to stop writing to google simple questions on grammar. I would recommend you purchase a copy of Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. I found mine at a used book sale for $1.00.

Another thing to keep in mind, your first novel probably won’t be a masterpiece. This is true of every writer of every first novel. That does include Nicholas Spark and J.K. Rowling. Remember, you are learning the craft as your write.

You will need to understand how to work dialogue, pace your book, construct a plot that is plausible and cohesive, build tension, and create characters that your reader likes and can relate to. Experts say it takes about 10,000 hours of writing to prepare you to write a publishable novel.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone. I just want to make sure you know what you are getting in to.  Most books take 5-10 years to get published. Hopefully you’ll be on the 5 side :-).

Just remember every author had a beginning. Every writer is facing the same challenges that you are. The trick if there is one: Don’t Give Up!

-Jan R

Are You Sure You Want to Write a Novel?

3 thoughts on “Are You Sure You Want to Write a Novel?

  1. I wouldn’t say “how hard can it be?” but I do think anybody can write a novel. Anybody who puts in the work and cultivates the discipline. I have finished several novels and published one, and I still feel this way.Writing is a skill that anybody can learn if they decide to put the work in.

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