Why I Write Novels

I've probably done a post on this before.  But I think I can't say it enough, writing is hard.  It's not the hardest thing I've ever done.  A few other examples come to my mind for that category: serving a foreign mission for my church for 18 months, rehabbing a house, raising three kids would top my list.  But nevertheless, writing is hard.  Sometimes I don't want to do it.  Sometimes I doubt myself, my characters, my plot.  I feel trite, cliche', hackneyed, shallow.  I feel like a fraud.  So why do I write when I could be scouring pinterest for the latest and greatest craft for my house?  Why do I write instead of getting a night shift job that I would actually get paid to do?  Because writing benefits me in so many ways.

I learn patience.  I am so impatient.  Ask my husband.  I can't keep a secret, I snoop in Christmas presents, I want it and I want it yesterday.  Writing a novel takes a great deal of time, effort, energy to see the finished product.  It stretches me to my limits of my patience with myself and the story.

I learn to appreciate detail.  I am a big picture person.  I get bogged down in the details. I give up easily (see patience above) if there are too many little things that have to be done.  Writing is all about detail.  There's big picture stuff there, too.  I mean plot is pretty big picture.  But I have to make the scenes come alive with detail.  It's not that I don't observe detail, I do.  But to be able to replicate, explain detail to where the reader can see, feel and smell the scene takes great talent.  I'm working on that.

I learn about myself.  Sometimes when I'm dealing with something upsetting, I don't even realize until it comes out in my writing. This is my therapy.  I can write it out on a page, often in tears, and deal with it.  When I am angry about something someone said, I can retaliate in my writing.  Heartache becomes gold.  My best scene in my current WIP is a scene where her boyfriend breaks up with her.  Every heartache I've ever felt went into that scene.  It's burns off the page.  I can explore topics I can't talk about even with trusted friends, I can face fears I've never told anyone about, I can right wrongs.  It's healing.  It's cathartic.  It's like blood letting, but it makes for good fiction.

I learn about other people.  When I spend an afternoon or so in someone else's head, I learn to understand their motivations, their fears, their pain, their insecurities.  Writing gives me understanding of human nature, compassion.  It is as close to walking in someone else's shoes as I can get.

I play.  I'll admit it.  I write unrealistic realistic fiction.  What happens to my characters wouldn't happen in real life.  But wouldn't it be cool if it did?  I like to go to exotic places, or even places I've been but miss.  I can reminisce, relive, make alive, recreate, examine, explore places I can't in real life in the safety of my laptop.

If I happen to sell some stories, that's even better!  But I love my characters, my stories, my experiences with my stories.  I cherish the inspiration I receive, the laughs and the tears I've had.  Reading is powerful.  Writing is creation.    


  1. Very interesting. This post makes me want to challenge myself by doing something that helps me be more patient. Like you, I can be impatient which is why I don't write...Maybe I will pick it up and see if it is as therapeutic for me as it is for you. I would love to enjoy writing, I have so many thoughts running around in my little (ok, big) head. It would be good to get some of them out.

  2. You should do it! I think everyone can benefit from writing! If you're up to the challenge of a novel there's National Novel Writing Month in November. I'll post a link to it on Facebook. I started small with short stories, but when I finished my first novel it was like finishing a marathon, or at least what I think might be like finishing a marathon since I've never run one, ahahah! But even if you write in your journal all your thoughts, you'd benefit. I've got lots of books on writing, let me know if you'd like to borrow one.


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