Can Anyone Write a Novel?


Hi, everyone! Here’s a quick question for you today:

Can anyone write a novel?

This was a question posted on one of the online writers’ groups I belong to, followed by an explanation of why the poster thought the answer was no.

The way she phrased it wasn’t the best, admittedly. So dozens upon dozens of other people in the writers’ group jumped down her throat for the assumed snobbery she was displaying.

But here at Innovative Editing, let’s not condemn the question or questioner so quickly. Can anyone write a novel? Let's think it over.

In the poster's defense, there is a certain logic to what she asked. I mean, not everyone is a rocket scientist, right? Not everyone is an engineer or a teacher. Moreover, there are plenty of people who call themselves professional scientists, engineers or teachers who are really bad at their jobs.

But is that because they can’t be good at them or because they don’t take the time, effort and humility necessary to be good at them?

I do think it’s safe to say that some people are born with certain talents or proclivities. I wrote my first “book” at age five, I think it was. It wasn’t the most creative or lengthy piece ever, but I had the inclination and I went with it.

Other people don’t develop that passion until later on in life, however. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing whatsoever.

The same goes for people who want to write but weren’t born with the writing gene, as it were. That just means they’ll have to work a little or a lot harder than their more easily inclined competition and colleagues.

Consider how Helen Keller was blind, deaf and dumb, yet she still wrote books.

I know someone who’s English professor told her she should find a new major because she couldn’t write well and never would be able to. Yet this person now runs a literary publication.

And according to Smithsonian.com, the first novel attempt Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan (who I’ve admittedly never heard of) was so abysmal that her own mother even hated it.

That’s pretty bad.

But what she went on to accomplish anyway was presumably pretty good. And I can guarantee that she didn’t get there by accepting the advice that not everyone can be a writer.

The real issue at stake is how much you want to be a writer. How much were you meant to be a writer?

Not everyone is and not everyone cares to be, which is good because we kinda need a few rocket scientists, engineers and teachers out there as well.

You’re meant to be what you were designed to be. Don’t waste your existence on anything else.

So can anyone write a novel? The answer is yes.

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