Why write a novel?

Man's hand taking a book from a stack of books poster When you talk to people about their dreams or about their bucket list, a very common one you’ll hear is: “I want to write a book one day”. Your average person who has this dream knows that they want to write because they feel like it, and they leave it at that, not giving it much deeper thought. This article is for anyone who is looking to understand their own dream if they have an urge to write a novel, or for anyone who doesn’t share the desire to write a book and is looking to understand this dream that some people have.

Why write a novel?

12 reasons why people write books:

1.) Because it’s fun

Writing can be extremely enjoyable for some people. What makes it fun?

  • The joy of succeeding to paint a picture with words
  • The joy of invention and creation: creating something entirely new and original from nothing but your mind.
  • The joy and release of self-expression of your thoughts, dreams and beliefs. monkey at a typewriter
  • The joy of the freedom to write whatever you want. You can take the story anywhere you wish. There are no boundaries.
  • The joy of escaping into another world, one where you can write your dreams into existence and make them come true by living vicariously through your characters. It can be a world where dreams can come true, where you can say everything you’ve never dared to say in real life, where bad guys get their just desserts, good guys usually win and there’s often a happy ending.
  • The joy of connecting with your characters and seeing them develop and overcome conflicts.

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2.) Because you have something you want to say

Bird - Singing Happy Song You may write because you feel a strong sense of having something to say. This may be in the form of self-expression of a feeling where writing about it gives you some relief. In other instances you may want to write to share an important idea, a revelation you’ve made about how humans or society function, a profound realization about life, a strong belief you have or something you think will inspire others to feel better, to become better people or to help make the world a better place.

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3.) Because you want to be the catalyst that brings the joy of reading to others through your book

I think it would be fair to say that most writers and wannabe authors would list reading as one of their hobbies because books have been a source of enjoyment and inspiration for them in the past. Some people can become inspired from reading a good book just because it makes them want to be able to stir in others those wonderful feelings they experienced while reading.

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4.) Because having control over a fictional world can feel empowering

holding the world in your hands In life, many of us can go through times when we feel vulnerable, powerless or like we lack control over our lives. By writing a world where you essentially play god, it can give a great sense of empowerment. The fun thing is that even if you feel empowered from writing a piece of fiction, according to the Law of Attraction, the longer you spend focused on an activity which makes you feel empowered, the more likely you are to bring that feeling into other aspects of your real life too.

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5.) For the pure challenge and its achievement

Rock Star reaching peak of mountain If you already know that you enjoy writing short stories, blogs, poetry, writing in your journal or anywhere else, a fun challenge you can set yourself is trying to write a novel, for the pure challenge.

During the process of writing a book you will most likely improve your writing skills and expand in this way.

For some it can help you feel like you’re proving yourself. Writing over 50,000 words can be akin to climbing a mountain. Both require skill and stamina, and both can feel like a great achievement when you complete them. For those who gain their self-confidence from external things, such an achievement can boost self-esteem.

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6.) To connect with people and help them feel like they’re not alone

connecting with others - cute elephants In life we often have a tendency to hide certain aspects of ourselves that are a bit dark or that we fear will be considered to be weird, wussy or otherwise unacceptable by society. When characters in books are portrayed as having such very human traits that we can secretly relate to, it can make us feel like we’re not alone. By writing a book with such characters (often based on yourself or other real people that you personally know) you as the author can feel like you’re helping people to feel like they’re less alone, and that act of reaching out to others in this very real, honest way can feel good.

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7.) To leave something behind when we’re gone

Humorous funny quote on immortality: I plan to Live Forever; so far, so good As mortals, many of us have a desire to matter and to leave a mark on the world even after we’re long gone. By sharing a part of yourself through a book, you leave behind something that can outlive you by centuries. We’re still reading writing by the likes of Pliny the Elder and Homer almost 2000 years after they wrote them. If the thing that you leave behind has the potential of making a positive impact to the world in some way, all the better.

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8.) For the pure experience

Why does someone want to taste a new food or visit a new country? For the experience. Writing a novel is an experience in itself which some people want to go through for the pure reason that they want to know what it feels like.

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9.) To gain a feeling of acceptance from others

Red Delicious Apple Postcards Whilst this may not be most psychologically healthy reason to write a novel, some people want to write in order to feel good from the positive feedback, compliments and general approval and acceptance of their writing. This is a slightly dangerous reason to write a novel because anyone who lets themselves determine their happiness based on the approval of others also can be particularly hurt in the event that their book doesn’t go down well.

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10.) It’s cheaper than therapy or than taking a psychology course!

What better way to explore and understand your own behavior (and others’ behavior) than by getting it down on paper, questioning it, analysing it and researching it for the purpose of deeply understanding your characters? Writing a novel can be a great way of organizing our thoughts to help us learn about ourselves and others.

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11.) It can be an excuse to study history whilst producing something useful with that information

History buffs can enjoy the excuse to read about a certain era in great depth and utilize that information to write an historic novel. Writing a book can give you a way to turn an interest in history into something that comes to life and which others can also enjoy.

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12.) To make money from doing something you love

For those who enjoy writing as a hobby, what could be better than earning money from doing something you love? Much like successful actors or popstars, making it as an author has the potential to make you a lot of money if you’re amongst the ones who make it big.

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3 Responses to Why write a novel?

  1. Trevor says:

    Nice list of reasons – thanks!

    Of course, the next step (maybe scary) is to actually start writing and then keep at it. A writing routine is a bit of a boring after that inspirational list but will probably help you to keep on track. You can check out a little more about that next step at onemonthnovel.info

  2. Tobuline says:

    Your article inspires me to write my novel once again. Last time I finished half of it but then leaved it behind for years. Maybe it’s not too late to continue to write again :)

  3. William Murphy says:

    I believe we all should write about our lives. For many reasons:
    - it shows the humanity of being imperfect
    - it helps us remember we’re all similar.
    - Experience can be just a tool to follow your track your footsteps and honesty is important.
    - To show that one can start off on the wrong path, but redemptions ones self.
    - to merely find out who you are

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