Is it worth it?

I happened to stumble on to a debate recently on whether writing a novel is worth the time, effort and sheer hard work it takes to produce.

Balance scale by Winnifredxoxo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

Everyone will have a different take but I believe asking ‘Is it worth it?’ is actually the wrong question.

I believe the questions you should be asking yourself instead are ‘Why do I want to write a  novel?’ and ‘What do I hope to achieve by writing it?’

It seemed to me, reading the comments people were making in the debate, that far too many of them had launched into writing a novel expecting instant gratification and financial reward when the book was released.  For them it wasn’t worth it, it was never likely to be because they thought there was a quick route to success, a sure fire formula to achieve bestseller status. A strong dose of realism soon put that right.

Money by Tax Credits courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

If I worked out how many hours I had spent at various keyboards in my life writing novels and then worked out the net sales of my books so far and from that took an hourly rate it would be abysmal. But I haven’t spent half my life at a keyboard because all I  wanted to do was make money. I put those hours in because I have a compunction to write.  It’s a need deep within me. It’s always been there, I hope it always will be.  I have to satisfy that need. I have to have an outlet for my creativity. I need to pour my stories on to the page or the screen and see them come alive.  I could not carry all those stories in my head and not let them out.

I’m madder than you by Mysi courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

Sometimes writing is a struggle but it can be a joy too. The thrill of capturing that scene you have been carrying in your mind., creating that tormented character you want to place at the heart of your next book , setting out on their journey, eager to bring them to a better place by the end of the book.

So, ‘Why do I want to write a novel?’

Because I have to.

‘What do I hope to achieve by writing it?’

To entertain myself and hopefully others.

‘Is it worth it?’

For me? Yes, always.

Happy writing!


10 thoughts on “Is it worth it?

  1. Felicia Denise 16/02/2017 / 8:33 am

    “To entertain myself and hopefully others.”

    That sums it up for me too! Wrote for myself for over thirty years, and now attempting to write for others…entertaining myself still along the way! 😉


    • ellieholmesauthor 16/02/2017 / 8:38 pm

      I think it’s so important not to lose the joy in what we do. Good luck and thanks for commenting. Ellie x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pamturnerblog 16/02/2017 / 8:34 am

    I completely agree. With me it’s also a compulsion, a lifelong need to get the words and pictures in my head out and on to paper. It’s been around since I was writing essays in Primary school (and getting great marks!) It’s always been there, sometimes subdued or repressed by life itself, but the yearning is always there. It’s at various times satisfying, exciting, painful and all sorts of other emotions depending on whether I get 50 words or 500 written! Without it, I wouldn’t be me.

    Pam xx



    • ellieholmesauthor 16/02/2017 / 8:43 pm

      I love your comment ‘Without it I wouldn’t be me’. So true. It’s innate – we have a passion for it and you can’t learn that. I think you are born with it. That’s why it’s so important to have an outlet for our creativity. Ellie x


  3. dicastlewriter 16/02/2017 / 3:27 pm

    Exactly! It is the compunction to write. I sigh inwardly at book signings when people say ‘oo I often think I could write a book’. It makes me want to scream as if they were a real writer they would just get on with it without just thinking about it.


    • ellieholmesauthor 16/02/2017 / 8:45 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Everyone thinks it’s so easy until they try it and discover otherwise! I don’t think we choose to be writers – I think writing chooses us. Ellie x


  4. deborahanndykeman 16/02/2017 / 5:08 pm

    I really appreciated reading this today. Kind of in a pot-hole right now with the writing. I’m waiting for my editor to finish reading my latest WIP, and I’m debating on whether to write a sequel. The story is there, (I always have a story there!) but I feel as though I’m ramming into a brick wall as far as readers are concerned. I have them, and they are loyal, just not very many at this point in time. That makes it difficult to justify spending so much time writing, which I love, rather than working full-time which kills my creativity. I’m assuming almost all writers have to juggle this. But reading this post today helped me to refuel and know that I write because I love it, I have a story to tell, I want to reach others…and I can’t think of NOT writing. The money part is disappointing, but isn’t really even on the list. Thank you for the reminder! Have a great day!


    • ellieholmesauthor 16/02/2017 / 8:50 pm

      So pleased my post came at just the right time for you. Standing out in a crowded marketplace is hard and can be so dispiriting so it’s good to step back now and then from the grind and just remind ourselves of the fundamentals of why we do what we do. Don’t lose your passion or your faith. Ellie x


  5. Akaluv 17/02/2017 / 12:38 am

    This was an excellent post! Honestly, though, I won’t lie. When I first started writing, I was hoping for instant gratification. However, of course, I didn’t get it, but, I do love writing, and I’m writing just for myself now, no one else.


    • ellieholmesauthor 17/02/2017 / 1:41 pm

      I think all writers when they take a more commercial view of their writing hope for sales otherwise why take on that extra pressure and workload? But it’s good not to lose your way and think all that matters is the bottom line because all that really matters is the quality of the work you are producing and whether you are enjoying the process. I think it’s so important to write for yourself and then hope others buy in to what you are offering. I’m glad to see you still love your writing. Ellie x


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