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.
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.
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.
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.