Darlene Foster's Blog

Five Reasons for Not Writing That Novel

Posted on: June 17, 2012

A good blogging friend, Laura Best, recently posted an article about why potential writers don’t write the novel they always wanted to write.  Since I am all about following your dreams, I thought it was worth sharing.

5 Reasons For Not Writing That Novel

by Laura Best 

 I hear people all the time express a deep desire to write a book. It happened just the other day. “I always wanted to write,” an older woman said to me. Had I not just met her I might have asked, “Well, what’s stopping you?”Often when someone learns that I’m an author it brings their own unfulfilled dreams of writing to the foreground. It seems that many people would like to write, they just don’t get around to it. Really, it makes me a little sad to know this. Whenever possible, we should try to pursue the dreams we carry in our hearts. Have you ever stopped to consider there is a reason those dreams are there?

Some dreams are fleeting fancies, as wistful as pink cotton candy — “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to write a book?” These dreams don’t really count because they really don’t come from the heart. They come from an idea that might have popped into our heads one day as we stood in the bookstore musing over the bestseller’s list thinking it would be super cool to see our name there. I’ve known people who thought they’d be able to whip up a story, no problem, but ended up discouraged after their first few tries.

Other dreams are of the niggling kind, they stick to us like grease, and no matter what they never go away. If we’re lucky we may be able to keep them at bay for a time, by allowing life’s distractions to keep us from taking action, because one of the scariest things in the world to do is to follow our dreams. I mean, what if we fall flat on our faces? Maybe even scarier—What if we succeed?

So here we go…..5 Reasons For Not Writing That Novel

1. I’ll start writing that novel when he kids are a bit older— A facebook buddy cited this one awhile back. It sounds like a good excuse. It’s up there with “the house won’t be messy as soon as the kids move out.” Hmmm, I believed that illusion for years, but now that the kids have moved that theory’s been shot to pieces. When my kids were small I knew that I had to have something in my life for me, something that defined me in some other way other than a mommy. Not everyone feels this way and I get that. But remember when those kids finally do move out you may end up asking yourself what am I going to do now? If you’re already writing, for whatever time you can allow, you won’t be asking that question. The answer will already be there.

2. I’ll start writing that novel once I retire…Many people say this, but here’s my theory, if we couldn’t find the time to start writing in the first 65 years of our lives it’s unlikely we’ll find oodles of time once we retire. Retired people are some of the busiest people I know. They just never slow down. They’re off vacationing and camping and having a grand old time.

3. I’ll start writing that novel when I have the money to take a writing course right now I’m barely making ends meet. Okay, I get the money thing. Years ago when we were first married there was barely enough money to pay the bills let alone dare to dream about spending money on something so frivolous. Here’s the thing… While writing courses are wonderful, not everyone has access to them. Here’s the other thing…You don’t need a writing course to get started. Think of all the great writers out there who wrote their books during a time when writing courses did not exist. It’s not impossible.

4.I’ll write that novel as soon I broaden my vocabulary because we all know that writers need to know the meaning of every word especially those twelve letter ones. When I first started writing I thought I had to wow everyone with my use of the English language—Wrong. Writing that is simple and easy to understand will resonate with many readers, your storytelling ability is far more important than twelve letter words. Learn to tell a good story.

5. I’ll start writing that novel as soon as I’ve experienced more of life so that I will have plenty to write about. Well, guess what? My two-year-old granddaughter is starting to tell bunny stories. They may only be a paragraph long, but she’s only two. Now if a two year old can come up with something, I’m willing to bet you’re selling yourself short if you think you need more life experience. People mistakenly believe that in order to write you have to have travelled and experienced the world, but some of the loveliest stories I’ve ever read were based on very simple themes.

There you have 5 reasons why would-be writers are not out there writing. A few of them worked for me in the past until I finally determined that nothing would stop me. The truth is there will always be things out there that will take up our time, but if you’re really meant to be doing something (and it doesn’t just have to be writing) by letting your dream fizzle away you’re not being true to the person that counts the most.The happiest people I know are the ones who work toward making their dreams come true. Be that person!

What reason do you have for not writing that novel?




19 Responses to "Five Reasons for Not Writing That Novel"

Laura, thank you for putting to words what I’ve always thought. A question I get after I hear, “Oh, I want to write,” is, “How do you find the time?” My response: I learned to make time, even if it’s five minutes before I leave for the secular job in the morning, or before I sleep at night. I figure, if you can make time for golf, tennis, ball room dance lessons, Wednesday night poker, why not find the time to write? If we waited until conditions were perfect to pursue a dream, that dream might never be realized! Thanks!

This is so true Ellen. Just cutting out one hour of TV a night would give you lots of time to write. Of course I also stopped doing housework (maybe not always the best idea)

So, so true – I’ve used all those excuses myself at different times!! I often find its when I’m at my busiest I’m the most productive – its an interesting contradiction. When I have all the time in the world I vegetate and do nothing!

it is funny how that happens Sharon. They say, “If you want something to get done, ask a busy person.” Thanks for visiting.

I know what you mean, Sharon.The busier I get, the more organized I have to get! Great blog post as usual!

Thanks Sandra. I guess that’s it, we just get more organized when we are busy.

I’m not a writer, but I am a reader so please all you would be writers out there – get writing!
Darlene talking about writing, I would love to read about ‘March Hare Books’ – can you give me the title of the book please?

The book is Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and will be out this summer sometime. I will let you know when. Thanks for your interest Barbara. We need readers like you to encourage us.

That’s fantastic Darlene, I can’t wait to read it.

I found myself always trying to convince other people to write a novel. When they didn’t comply, I decided to do it myself. 🙂 And I’m glad I did.

I love that! Glad you wrote the book yourself, why wait for others.

We retired to paradise when I was 48 years old and if ever I was going to write the novel it would have been then – blatant self promotion here http://growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/paradise-phones-and-phrustration/. I have started many times, have an outline in the file but …
Thanks for sharing Darlene. 🙂

One I love to use: I’m not a good enough writer yet to do that project justice. 🙂

I used that one for decades.

I wrote a book and I have a hard time trying to find time to do the editing or maybe I just avoid it because it’s hard 😦 Great article! 🙂

The editing is the hardest part. I give it to a couple of other people to read and they seem to pick up many of the mistakes for me. Then I go through it again myself. But it needs to be done.

So true! The same excuses could be applied to any dreams and activities people are procrastinating. But as everybody knows – the best time to be fulfilling our dreams is now… pardon me, for sounding do cliche.:)

So true. I teach a workshop about goal setting and following your dreams. I always end with, the best time to start is now! Thanks so much for following my blog.

My pleasure. Have a beautiful weekend!

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