Confessions of a Wannabe Novelist

Posted on October 28, 2013

Is anyone really good at writing? I mean, is it something that comes naturally or a well-honed skill that needs to be developed over time?

I used to believe writing was an innate craft of mine simply because I surrounded myself with the written word from a young age. As a kid, I would sneak away and find little crawl spaces to sit and write short, incomplete stories in an old exercise book.

I thought it was only a matter of time before I became what I was always meant to be: a famous writer.

Thinking you are a great writer does not a writer make

The dream became a little more silly every year, until it was finally shelved as a wistful What If? Something I told myself once in a while when I imagined some alternate future far, far away.

Instead, I decided to pursue the more practical version of the humble writer – the journalist. Like the novelist, this version also relied heavily on the written word but came with the illusion of a more steady paycheck.

My initial interest in blogging also stemmed from this idea that it was a more practical writing pursuit, one you could use in a job interview or on your CV. Creative writing just didn’t have the same power in today’s professional world.

But my obsession with it has not abated. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a novel and think, I could do this. Then, just as quickly, I will be completely humbled by an author and convinced that I never had a chance.

This seesaw of self-esteem is partly what has held me back from making any serious attempt at a piece of fiction, despite my guilty novelist fantasies.

Enter the catalyst

This is all set to change on November 1, when I – along with 153,491 (and counting) other hopeful novelists – will embark on a task to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for the initiated), which has been running since 1999 and is now one of the biggest creative writing initiatives in the world.

The concept is simple: 30 days to complete the first draft of a 50,000 word novel – be it trash or masterpiece.

Do not worry, dear readers, I have no intention of bombarding you with plot, character or narrative posts detailing my caffeine-fueled descent into novel writing madness (this is an online media blog after all and I do have an editorial calendar to stick to).

But I did want to take this opportunity to share with you my little personal challenge. Because ultimately, my pull towards blogging, journalism and content creation has all stemmed from this early fascination with creative fiction.

And now I have the chance to see whether I’ve got the chops to turn this dream into a reality.

photo credit: mezone via photopin cc

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