It’s been said that everyone has a novel in them. Certainly it’s said of every journalist. Judging by the many announcements I receive about local people finishing their own novels, I think there may be some truth to that saying.
I have known one local, Roswell’s Morgan Rodgers, for several years now. He just released his second book that takes place in his hometown. Apparently, I am featured in it (by name) and do what I do best – report on stories in the community. I never asked for this, but I’m looking forward to seeing how I am portrayed in the novel. It’s not something many people can claim.
But Morgan, with a family and full-time job, somehow found the time to write not one, but two books in his spare time. This brings up a sore point for me.
I have a confession to make. Despite writing for a living, I have yet to finish a novel. I used to write for fun all the time, but I don’t do it often anymore. Perhaps it’s a lack of time (the news never stops!), or perhaps it’s precisely because I write for a living that stops me from writing for fun.
Someone told me once to never turn your hobby into your profession – it will turn from something you love to do into something you have to do. This flies in the face of the conventional saying “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I’m not sure which saying is true, but the end result is the same – I haven’t completed anything in a long time.
Every year, I take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – it’s in November), and every year, I fail miserably. The goal is to set a deadline for finishing your novel. I may get a few days into the month and make good progress, but then my plot falls apart or I lose interest. I find I’m better at short stories – maybe because they are closer in length to an article?
It’s one thing to feel a kind of guilt at not finishing what I start, but it’s entirely another to have people you know moving ahead with their own novels.
These days, there’s little stopping anyone determined enough from getting their books published. With the increasing popularity of self-publishing or writing online for e-books or blogs, getting your story out there has become the easy part – no longer must you go through a draconian publisher.
Which brings me back to my own lack of progress. Maybe one day I will finish my novel.
I’m sure there are many people reading this who have either finished their own novels or are working on their first. I would love to hear what gets you through those hard parts and keeps you going. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.