Why I Want to Write a Novel

Why I Want to Write a Novel - via Susan Howarth

I have wanted to write a novel for as long as I can remember. I got my first taste of publication when my grade 3 English teacher recommended that one of my stories be included in the school paper. In my world at that time, this was the equivalent of being handed a Pulitzer.

Sometimes I miss the days of writing as a child, when there was no self-consciousness. No doubting my abilities and no fear of looking stupid. I was not worried about themes or pacing or character arcs. I wrote for the pure joy of it and let my imagination do all the work. During these carefree days, I once penned a classic entitled “The Time My House Exploded”. These early experiments combined with lots of encouragement from family and friends turned me into a writer. And even though I took a long hiatus, deep down I never gave up my dream of writing a novel.

I work full time and have two young children, so it’s not as if I have plenty of free time to kill these days. And I’m certainly not expecting to become rich or famous. So why do I want to take on this monumental, gruelling marathon of a project?

I love words.

I have embraced my nerdiness and no longer feel embarrassed about my obsession with grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Sometimes it takes me an inordinate amount of time just to write a simple e-mail to a friend because I agonize over word choice and clarity. And yes, I cringe whenever I see the incorrect use of “your” vs. “you’re”. I think these quirks will serve me well when it comes time to edit my manuscript.

I want to pay it forward.

Being lost in a good book is one of my very favourite things. With all of the terrible news stories from around the world, as well as the day-to-day challenges we face in our lives, I find it therapeutic to set aside real life troubles and become immersed in ones that are make believe. For me, a well-told story has cured loneliness, sadness, boredom, and thirst for adventure. Reading fiction is a feel-good drug I can use again and again. If I can create something that gives someone else that high, even for a brief time, I will consider that success.

Imagining things is fun.

Let’s face it: being a grown-up involves a lot of monotony.  Commuting, working, making dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry, bathing kids, running errands, paying bills, etc. I can’t say that any of these things spark joy in my heart. I used to spend my evenings watching TV or scrolling through Facebook, and I felt like my brain was turning to mush. Creating characters from scratch and imagining what might happen to them is MUCH more fun and engaging.

Creating something from nothing is extremely satisfying.

I have read about a number of authors who say they don’t enjoy writing, but they love having written. I definitely fall into this camp. Often times, it is like pulling teeth for me to get words down. In fact, the blank page is something I absolutely dread. However, when I read over something I have written – even if it is terrible – I feel a certain energy that comes from knowing that I created something from nothing. I can only imagine that when I hold a finished novel in my hands, that feeling will increase exponentially.

I can’t wait.

Have you ever considered writing a novel? Why or why not?


  1. Love your reasons “why”! So exciting and look forward to reading your work – Enjoy the process!

    Fellow “Head Start” mom,

  2. I am not drawn to write a novel but I can still appreciate a lot of your reasons for doing so. I agree with you on the monotony of the weekly grind and the joy of creating. I recently started teaching myself how to code and I hope to create something with those skills eventually. I guess that will be my time to be brave. Congrats on making the leap!

  3. I’ve just finished reading your short story “that ackward moment” and really liked it. Great character development, with lots of personality. That’s not easy to do in a short story. Wow.

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