Post: Facing the truth about writing a novel or other work of fiction


Maybe you already have a few books in print. Who knows? You might even be a best-selling author. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or still in the discerning stages of trying to launch a career writing fiction novels, there are several truths to bear in mind. These truths apply to all authors, from novices to the world’s most famous. 

If you’re new to writing fiction novels, it’s best to remove the pair of rose-colored glasses you might be wearing. It won’t be all butterflies and sunshine. In fact, you might have days where you sit and stare at a blank page for hours on end, without typing a single word. All authors encounter challenges and must overcome certain obstacles to achieve their goals. Over the long haul, your ability to “weather the storm” may be the key to success. 

Truths about writing fiction novels

If you can’t face these truths about writing fiction novels, another profession might be a better fit for you: 

  • You won’t always love your job, and some days you might actually hate it.
  • Lack of structure, routine and self-discipline will impede your success. 
  • The genre you love most might not be the one you should write about.
  • You’ll never write a novel that every reader loves. 
  • You will face rejection. 

It’s highly doubtful that there has ever been a fiction novelist who has never faced rejection. Even big hitters like J.K. Rowling (i.e., author of the Harry Potter series) have had manuscripts rejected more than 10 times before receiving an acceptance letter. If you can’t handle rejection, writing fiction novels is probably not the best career choice. Procrastination is not uncommon; however, if you can’t develop some type of routine and structure and discipline in your writing plan, it will be difficult to finish a book. 

Make sure your skills match the genre you choose

Just because you love to read mystery novels, doesn’t mean you’re cut out to be a mystery novelist. When writing fiction novels, you’ll want to choose a genre that matches your skills. Each category requires a unique skill set. For example, if you want to write historical fiction novels, you must have excellent research skills.

If you’re hoping to craft a best-seller on the latest suspense thriller list, you must master the concepts of clues, red herrings, plotting, pacing, and more. You might want to experiment with several genres to determine which one you are most comfortable with. Facing the truths about writing fiction novels is the first step toward building a successful writing career.