Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why it is Hard to Write a Novel

 I am trying to write a novel. A novel that has been in my head for a couple of years now and in my heart for many more years.

 So why is it so hard?

 1) I am a person who gets distracted. As I type I remember that I am waiting for a specific email and check to see if it's there. I remember a book I am currently reading and read a chapter. I get bored of my current play list and end up searching for new music on Spotify. My writing is easily forgotten even with good intentions like trying to find music to put me in the right mood for a specific scene.

2) The word novel scares me. I have written short stories, all of which have been planned completely in my head as I write. I write, move things around, copy and paste, and I have a short story. But my novel is a mess in my head. I want a plan. I need an outline, a map to follow. Except I am not a planner when it comes to writing. For some reason I have either convinced myself that to write a good novel I need an outline, or my brain is exploding with too much information, themes, images, and characters.

3) I have other things to do. I long for the day that many published authors dream of: for my job to be a writer. But that day is not now. Sometimes my job as a student entails writing stories, but it is only a part of my homework. Even my job as a writing tutor is about helping others with their writing. Though it helps me become a better writer, it is not helping anything of mine get written.

4) I feel like I am alone in my novel writing. I don't mean I want another writing friend to come over and we sit down together drinking tea and cranking out a certain word count. We would just end up talking anyway. No, I mean support. My family has always believed in my writing. I have a lot of friends that are excited about my future novel and have been so sweet in asking me about it. I even have one special friend who begs for the next installment, who I can always talk things out with and ask her honest opinion. But she's in another state. My family is busy. Sometimes even though I know people care, I need them to look at me and ask, "How's that novel coming?" I need to ask people, "Would this be a natural reaction for this specific character?"

5) I am a perfectionist. When I write I want to sit on my bed, open the Word document, and start typing frantically. And I want those words flying out of my head to be perfect, beautiful, breathtaking, and meaningful. If none of those things happen, I get frustrated, I get annoyed with myself. And I stop writing, or in most cases, trying to write. And that ends any progress on my novel at least for that day and probably the next, and potentially a week, sending me into a small writer's block depression. To put it simply, I want to be the best and I am not.

 That is why writing is hard.

 It is art. It is thinking. It is trying to recall every writing lesson, tip, and technique I have ever been taught and incorporating them into every word while somehow trying to remember the big picture, or in my case, multiple big pictures. It is a lonely hobby and a dream profession. It represents all that I am as I incorporate the Gospel into every story, what I believe God wants me to do. It is hard work that seems unrewarding. It is a college major people think is wrong. It shows me my sins and reveals my faults while at the same showing me Jesus' faithfulness, grace, and mercy.

 It is writing. It is hard. But with God's help, I need to keep going despite the fact that I am only about one eighth of the way done with my novel.

 Because I can't imagine not writing.

 Because I can't imagine Heaven without writing- writing about my Savior.

 P.S. You can read more about my novel in progress here


  1. Great post Allison! Keep on writing that novel. :D And of course, keep on blogging.
    And um....reason #1 pretty much sounds like my life. :P

  2. haha I am glad I am not the only one! It's weird though because I can get very focused but also very distracted at other times. :)
    Thanks, Paige!

  3. #1 for me as well! I can get really excited and focused about a new scene in a story, but rewriting an old one is rather intimidating. Writing a novel is a herculean task in its own right.

    1. Wow, I didn't know it was so hard for everyone else to concentrate, too. :) I can't tell if it's my personality or just the distraction of the internet. Probably both.
      Nice to meet you, M!

    2. I remember you liked writing back in co-op classes :-) I'm glad to have found your blog! -Marina B.

    3. Oh, Marina! How are you? I am so glad you found me, too! Yes, I still love writing. :)

    4. Doing well! We should catch up some time! :-)