Why writing a novel rocks: you get to give back to the world of books

A real bookworm wants to create books for other worms to crawl through

A real bookworm wants to create books for other worms to crawl through

This post is another in my current series explaining the best things creative writing does for you, even though trying to get a novel on the page, and then in shape, and then in the hands of readers, can sometimes seem to be nothing but a colossal headache.

Yesterday, I talked about getting credit for the awesome things your characters are responsible for.

Another wonderful thing about writing is a direct correlation of writing’s connection to reading. After all, we writers as a group are among the most avid (squiggly? squirmy?) of bookworms.

We begged our parents to read to us as young children. My mother, I know, always signed my sisters and me up for the “read to me” summer reading program at the library when we were little: the program for kids too young to be reading on their own. Then we would pick out, weekly, the books we wanted, and she would make sure to read them to us before our next trip back. (My mother was one awesome lady.)

Most of us writers decide soon after we start reading that we’d like to write. And no matter at what age or what station of life we begin writing, we read constantly.


One reason we writers want to write, I think, is that we feel driven to touch, console, and inspire other people with our work the way we have been inspired.

No writer can deny that s/he has been touched by literature. We understand how a book can be a solace, a friend, a mentor. We understand how books have moved us and shaped us.

We understand how wonderful books are, and we want to share that wonder. In fact, we feel responsible to do our part to bring that wonder to other people. This responsibility has the weight of a moral obligation to some degree. I know that in my case, the thought of someone possibly reading my work and being moved the way my favorite books have moved me gives me goosebumps. Seriously. Goosebumps.

a lake with goosebumps

Lakes get goosebumps too.

My upcoming writer’s handbook is called “Writing for You,” but in this, we write as much for other people as for ourselves: we want to know the humility and the joy of inspiring others. Of giving them ideas of writing their own books.

Also, I like to think books can console people. I know books have consoled me. Certain novels have reminded me of my faith, renewing my perseverance and my trust that I am not alone when life gets tough.

Even if you aren’t of a religious persuasion, I think we all have a book or two that just clicked with us. That convinced us that our thoughts and our emotions were valid, and not stupid or worthless. We all have characters we connect with because they’re like us. We get them and where they’re coming from, and we feel for them. We truly feel for them.

We want to give that comfort to someone else: give them a character that validates them where they are in life and as they are. A character who validates their present as well as their dreams for the future.

For me, that character is Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I may not be a werewolf, but I have always connected with Lupin’s inferiority complex and his struggles to accept himself and his past.

Who is that character for you? How is it you hope you hope your books will give back to the world of literature for all it’s given you?

Feel free to share your thoughts. And if you enjoyed this post, consider signing up to follow the blog by email at the top right corner of the page.


21 responses to “Why writing a novel rocks: you get to give back to the world of books

  1. Beautifully put. I love writing just to share stories. The feeling a great book can leave me with is unparalleled. It’s crazy how at the end of a story I’m invested in, I want to see what happens, but at the same time I don’t want it to end.

    At time when it feels like many are just trying to cash in on the newest trends in publishing, it’s heartening to see authors who do it for the love of the craft. Keep up the great work. 🙂

    • thanks Andrew! I totally agree. You’re so right: it can be disheartening to see how many try to cash in… but there are also many who write what they feel compelled to write to fulfill themselves and to give back and inspire. 🙂

  2. What a lovely post! That’s exactly why I have written my book – and why I’m writing my next one…. It’s good to know that others work the same way.
    Of course, there are other reasons for writing, too – like getting something out of your system, or even to try and understand something yourself.
    Have you ever grappled with a problem, then tried to write it down, then through the course of your writing, suddenly realised you have written yourself into an explanation, or a solution?
    Thankyou for that!

    • I totally have done that!!!! Writing is definitely therapy for me. The introduction to my upcoming writer’s handbook is all about good reasons to write, and I think I hit on everything you say here. You are great to point all of this out. Thanks so much for your thought-provoking comment! I always say there are multiple reasons are write, as long as you’re writing by and large for you.

  3. Ender Wiggin, oddly enough. Not the genius level intellect, but he was bullied for being smart and small like I was. He also had a temper that he didn’t like and was striving to keep it under control. I guess I really connected with how Ender evolved from child to warrior and then had to handle his decisions. Trying really hard to do this without spoiling anything since the movie is coming out this year.

  4. Your comment is exactly my feeling “One reason we writers want to write, I think, is that we feel driven to touch, console, and inspire other people with our work the way we have been inspired.” I agree also with the fact that we also write for ourselves. I know what I want to write….it is not altered to fit any market trends or to sell. It is what I want to write so people may learn and understand real life issues. Great write-up here. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Really like this post 🙂 Sometimes I write knowing I’ll probably be the only one who ever reads my stuff. When something in my life doesn’t go as planned I like to write it out as fiction where the main character gets what she wants. It’s kind of empowering actually!

  6. You are the first person to ever bring this to my attention, but you’re right! Writing is a way for us to give back, or pay forward, what reading has given us in the past. This is why I love your blog.

  7. angel7090695001

    I write because I love the way my stories go from beginning to end.

  8. I had never thought of my love for writing that way, as a way of wanting to give back, but it’s true. We all have a book(s) that’s consoled or inspired us, touched us and never let go. To think that something I’ve written has done that for someone else would be absolutely wonderful. Great post!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Glad to know I’m not alone. I know I would LOVE to think my characters touched someone the way some of the books I’ve read have touched me.

  9. When I was twelve I had a great desire to write a book that I wanted to read. So I set out to write this novel and it transformed so many times over the years that now I want to write a book that not only I can enjoy, but that many others can as well. As you said, I want to share a piece of my world with others and hope they can find comfort in it and find a deep connection with my work. Thanks for a great post!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed that. Thanks so much for your comment: I think it’s incredible that you started a novel, for you, and twelve, and kept at it. That is AMAZING. That’s great motivation for us all. I didn’t start my first novel until college.

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