The joys of novel writing, in 30 days or less

By: Monica Sousa- Assistant Arts & Life Editor

It should not come as a surprise to hear that writing a novel is not an easy task. Writing a novel takes a lot of hard work and with that hard work comes no guarantee that your novel will even be published – let alone successful. So why do people do it? Why do people put so much effort into something when they are aware of the daunting risks? What even are the benefits to writing?

Brittany Brooks/ Brock Press

Brittany Brooks/ Brock Press

Everyone will have different incentives as to why they might write a novel. Some people will be in it completely for the money, some people may be in it for the fame and some for both. While others may wish to seek the honour and recognition of establishing themselves as a well-known literary name, such as Ernest Hemingway, Steven King or Margaret Atwood.

However, the idea of valuing fame and fortune as the highest perks of novel writing is overhyped. This is not to say that people should not get excited if they are bringing in mega bucks. Obviously, positive responses to one’s work is a good thing as well.  Again, it is not a guarantee though, and if one does receive them, they receive them only after the book has been published. So if not for fame or material wealth, what else could inspire someone to write?

Coming from somebody who often writes fiction, there a few factors that motivate me to write that are completely unrelated to money or fame. Writing fiction is something I value and hopefully this November you will be inspired to begin writing as well.

One of the reasons many individuals get involved in  novel writing is the unquestionable challenge of the writing process. Yes, sitting down and writing something as long and complex as a novel is not simple; but what is worthwhile in life is not always easy. The harder something is to do, the more it is worth the effort. There are few perks in doing a mundane and simple task, such as putting a slice of bread in the toaster – all you get in return is toast. However, the perks become greater when you put more effort into your work, such as mixing a bunch of ingredients to make a crust and then a filling which results in the creation of a delicious pie. The profit for your hard work is not just a pie or a completed novel – it is the wonderful feeling of pride and achievement in seeing your novel through, from start to finish. It is also worth mentioning that the sense of achievement and pride is not just felt at the completion of the novel, but along the journey to the finish, when you hit certain marks such as a completed chapter, a challenging scene or interesting character developments.

Another enjoyable factor of writing a novel is knowing that you have complete creative control to write whatever you desire, and in a sense, play god. Our own personal world in which we are the creator, which empowers the author during writing. When we write novels, we shape an entire world from scratch with nothing but the immeasurable power of our imaginations and our use of words.

Also, writing fiction allows the writer to explore imaginary or far-fetched opportunities and live vicariously through them. For example, surely all of us have at least a bit of desire to be a hero in life. Unfortunately, as human beings, we are flawed, limited and are often held back by fear and insecurities. Writing fiction is much like living in a dream, where our heroic fantasies are free to run their course.

As people, we all have our stories, life experiences and lessons that we have learnt and we all have lessons that we would like others to learn. Writing allows us to be teachers to our fellow human beings. There is always a bit of ourselves in the characters we create and the actions that we make them choose. Creating fiction is an excellent instrument to help us educate, impart wisdom and connect with others.

With all this being said, there are many benefits to writing a novel and I invite you to try out a fun approach to write one of your own. November is National Novel Writing Month  and NaNoWriMo is a non-profit web site organization — established in 1999 — that gives writers the seemingly difficult task of writing a 50,000 word novel within a month, beginning on Nov. 1 and ending on Nov. 30. The site offers pep talks from published authors, tools to track the word count and helpful forums that host a flourishing online community. It is a great motivator to get into the habit of writing every day.

With NaNoWrimo, all you have to do to become a winner is reach the word count of 50,000 words. You can nominate your novel to win starting on November 25. If your novel is indeed over 50,000 words, all you have to do is paste the text into the word-count program to ensure it. After the web site calculates your word count and you have met the minimum, you are an official winner of NaNoWriMo. From then on, you will have the chance to collect a few rewards.

With NaNoWriMo, over 250 novels have been published traditionally. To name a few, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern,  “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, and “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer.

Have you ever had a fleeting idea for a story that you brushed aside but still wished to someday sit down and bring it to life? Have you ever wanted to create your own world, your own characters and relish in the challenge of it? Have you ever wanted to reach out to others with your words and your imagination? NaNoWriMo is there to help you do that. NaNoWriMo is for any determined person with creative ideas who values enthusiasm and a goal. For more infomation, visit,

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