Why a novelist?
I have written about why it is I want to write before. It’s a very good question for any writer to ask themselves given the personal sacrifices that will inevitably follow. But I’ve never paused to consider why I specifically want to be a novelist.
This question was prompted by a book I’m reading, novel in a year, by Louise Doughty. The book is divided up into weeks, and every other week has an exercise. One of the early exercises is to sum up why you want to be a novelist, in one sentence. One sentence – that’s tricky.
The Love of it
I spent some time trying to think of some deep purpose to my ambition; something original, that might sound wise or insightful. But I kept coming back to the fact that I really like reading novels. I’ve always liked them. As far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed getting lost in another world. Novels are long enough to do that, and I find them much more absorbing than any other medium.
And what I enjoy, I want to emulate. Or, if not emulate (although there have been many authors I admire, I only want to sound like myself when I write), at least make my own version thereof.
My Readers Need Me!
No, I cannot pretend that I have some altruistic desire to share the pleasure I get from reading – to impart the same with my own work. In part, that would seem rather arrogant of me, I think. It’s not that I don’t believe that there are people out there that would enjoy my work, but I do not assume that the world is clamouring for a novel by Matt Roberts. And I don’t see it as my duty that I write for these people; that it would be a selfish tragedy to deny them such works of genius!
Apart from that, I do not require readers to want to write a novel. Without anyone to read it, I would likely still write it anyway.
Climbing the Mountain
The challenge might be another part of it, though. It’s a long old process, especially for those of us who can only write in small snatches. But I imagine a day when my novel is finally completed, and know that the relief and pride that come from such an accomplishment will be worth it. That is one of the things that spurs me on. Without relishing the challenge, I believe I would be consigned to writing quarter-finished pieces, constantly starting on the next project, but never finishing.
So, why do I want to be a novelist, in one sentence?
I want to become a novelist, because I love novels, and relish the feeling of satisfaction I’ll have when I finally complete my own.
Perhaps not amazingly profound, but true, and motivation enough. Have you ever taken the time to consider why you want to be a novelist, poet, shirt story writer, script writer etc.? I’d love to read your reasons!