Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

Last week, I celebrated my fifth year as a blogger. Since I began, I have written 271 posts on writing or publishing. Whew! Yes, sometimes it feels like I have covered every topic out there.

I tend to write about whatever I am working on in my current work in progress.  If I am just starting out, I write about world or character building. If I am on my second draft, that becomes the topic of a blog, and if I am trying Kindle Select, I write about that and how successful or unsuccessful it was.

This means often times the topics might jump around so I thought I would write a “How to Write a Novel” series in order to help novice writers. (Last year, I did write an outline of writing a novel with links to appropriate posts. You can find it here.)

Now my new project won’t just be a re-posting of old posts. And even though I was thinking of it for the beginner, I think seasoned writers may still be able to find some tricks and tips, or they can feel free to share their own methods and ideas in the comment section.

In fact, if anyone has suggestions of topics regarding writing or publishing, please leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

So, now on to the first topic….

You have always dreamed of writing a novel. Maybe you want that instant fame or perhaps people have been telling you for years that you would be a good author. For whatever reason, you have decided to finally write that novel rolling around in your brain. But before you do, let’s clear up a few common myths or misconceptions about writing a novel.

Myth #1 – Writing is Easy

Some people (who obviously haven’t written a novel) consider it to be something easy. However, you need dedication and determination to write a novel. It is not easy to write and publish a novel. In fact, many people start a novel but never complete it. It isn’t just having a good story idea. You have to write it, then re-write sections or perhaps all of it, edit it, then edit it some more and finally proof it for grammar and spelling. All of this takes a lot of time. You have to be determined to see it to the end and not be discouraged as you work through the process. You are NOT going to pen a full-length novel in a few weeks. (Key word is full-length novel as in 80,000 to 100,000 words. To find out the average lengths of different literary works, click here.)

Myth #2 – Writers Make Big Money

People hear about the superstars. They hear about the J.K. Rowlings, James Patersons and Steven Kings who make bundles of money and expect that most writers make a good living writing. No. In fact, many writers do not write full-time. They need a day job (or a spouse) to help pay the bills. Even if you do make money selling your first novel, it will take a few more books before you probably will see consistent money coming in.

Myth #3 – Writers Write to be Famous

If you are writing to be famous, you probably should pick a different career. Actors and singers have people mauling them on the streets but not many people would recognize Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling if they ran into them. Some writers may write with the hopes of becoming a household name, but many of us do it because we love it. (Though emails from fans is always a great perk.)

Myth #4 – It is Easy to Publish a Book

Just as with the myth about writing, many assume it is easy to get published. But that is far from the truth. If you publish traditionally, competition is fierce for agents who can get your books in the hands of the right people and even then book publishers are often hesitant on betting on a novice writer. Now self-publishing has made it easier to PUBLISH a book (in electronic or paper form) but just because you publish a book, doesn’t mean you will be successful. There are so many books out there it is tough to reach an audience. You will spend more time promoting your work than writing. (Of course in the best course is often to keep writing more books until you have several published works. To read more about this concept, click here.) But publishing a novel is a whole different area that you don’t even have to worry about until you have actually written your novel.

So if it isn’t easy, we don’t become famous or make a lot of money, why do authors write? I can’t speak for everyone, but I do it because I love to write. I love the creative process and bringing characters to life. There is no wrong way to do this. Some people need to plod along making and learning from their mistakes while others want to plan everything out.  But nothing begins until you make that commitment to actually sitting down and writing your novel.

Tune in next week when I address how you get started on that novel.

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