To all the writers currently at work on a novel, or who have already written a novel (or two, or three, etc.), I applaud you.
Writing a novel is a war of attrition. It’s you versus every test of your patience. If you’ve completed a novel, again, congratulations.
I’m certainly not against writers who choose to write a novel. I just want to remind them that there are many ways to present their ideas.
Call it a gut feeling, but I imagine that many aspiring writers (perhaps subconsciously) believe a novel to be a mark of validation offering the status of a “real writer.” I don’t believe this to be the case.
There are many literary forms that can capture an idea. A novel is certainly the longest form. When you get a great idea, it may be perfect for a novel. If so, go right ahead and write a novel. However, your idea may work much better as short fiction, a play, or a screenplay, perhaps even a poem. You can take the fictional aspects out and turn it into creative nonfiction. You can even take the creative aspects out and turn it into pure nonfiction.
But it’s not just that. Aspiring writers should be aware of the fact that writing is all around, and goes beyond novels, beyond all traditional forms. Writing is everywhere. Writing includes the cover letters that you write when applying for jobs (or for publication in literary journals, for that matter). Writing includes the comedy routine that you perform at a local open mic. Writing includes the blog posts that you share with our community on WordPress.
Yes, go ahead and write your novel. It’s a wonderful undertaking. I have the highest respect for all writers who work in the form. Just please, don’t think that novels are the only form that you should work in.
Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from readers with dissenting opinions. Do you believe novels have more value than other forms of writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Perhaps we can even start a conversation about this on our new Facebook group. See you there!