So, you want to write a novel? Beware, you poor, poor deluded soul: you might just find you experience these unintended results along they way.
- YOU DEVELOP SKILLS USEFUL IN REAL LIFE. To successfully write a novel, you have to learn time management. You have to develop perseverance and keep going through the tough moments. You learn problem-solving skills, and you learn how to set up short-time goals along the way to completing a major, long-term project. All these things will help you outside the realm of novel-writing. And I promise you, when you’re done, you’ll feel a true sense of accomplishment and have a new confidence that can take you a long way.
- YOU LEARN SOMETHING. You want to write a whodunit, but you’re not sure exactly where that vital artery in someone’s arm goes or what it’s called and you need it to play a part in the victim’s death…. You have an itching to make a character who shares your Protestant background come into contact with someone who’s a devout Catholic, but you’re not really sure what the Catholic Church is all about, or how it’s similar/different to your faith. Well, you just might find yourself researching things and learning tons along the way!
- YOU DISCOVER WHO YOU ARE. As you write, you start to have reactions toward your characters. You like this one, but hate that aspect of her. You think that guy is okay, but he’d be cooler if he did this. You write a character who’s a baddie, and then out of the blue, it hits you in the face there’s a major piece of you in that awful person. It’s twisted, perhaps, or manifested differently, but it’s still a part of you. (Maybe, for instance, you write a villain who’s a political extremist in a fantasy world, who goes even to terrorist heights to secure magic rights, because he’s insecure that the only real gift/talent he feels he has is magic. And maybe you realize, while you’re certainly not violent, you do feel as though your talents are completely skewed in one direction, leaving you really high in that single area but sorely lacking and outplayed in every other aspect of life. And maybe you then decide that’s not necessarily a healthy way to view yourself. Maybe you can focus on a new hobby, some other skill you can develop.) All these things might lead to self-reflection and contemplation about who you are, who you want to be, and how you can work to be that person.
- YOU REALIZE IT’S NOT ABOUT ACCLAIM. You set out to write the “Great American Novel.” To be the next J.K. Rowling. To take the world by storm…. And then you write your novel. And you realize it’s got major issues. It’s not a story that can really be published because people wouldn’t buy it. And then your perspective changes, none of that is any big deal because you’ve learned so many things, and discovered so much about yourself, and developed so many skills while writing that the acclaim doesn’t matter at the end. You might never share that novel, but you have it. It’s yours. And the process and pain of writing it was totally and completely worth it.
So you think: MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE ANOTHER ONE!!!!
What? ANOTHER one? A second novel? Maybe in a new genre, requiring tons of reading and research? What are…. What are you doing? What is WRONG with you????
This is your brain, asking you politely to come back to Earth, pleazkthanx.