Being a novelist is far from what I thought it’d be like as a child. Others can argue, but I believe that there are way more things to hate about being a novelist than love. In this blog post you’ll find five such things. If you still want to be a novelist after this post, then welcome to the guild: because you already are one!
1. Not Experiencing the Writer’s High:
Yes, writing novels, or the art thereof, can be as addictive as any alcohol beverage, illegal drug, or cigarette. How? Well, the first time you manage to write something truly beautiful, you might notice that you are experiencing something similar to euphoria. Yep, you can get a kind of high from “writing something beautiful”, and I don’t mean a single high from having written an entire novel. I’m talking about that single beautiful chapter, page, paragraph, and even sentence. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself addicted to that high.
Unfortunately, you’ll often disappoint yourself because half the time what you write will be so exponentially far from beautiful and it is especially during those times that, like an alcoholic who doesn’t get that drink, a drug addict who doesn’t get that drug and a smoker who doesn’t get that cigarette, you’ll start to loose it.
2. Alienating Your Loved Ones and Friends:
This is second on the list, but it’s probably the worst thing about being a novelist. Writing novels is like any other profession. The only problem is, most people don’t see it that way. Those closest to you see you at home and they want to talk and spend time with you when all you want to do is work on that novel. Most fiction writers, especially those that haven’t made their mark yet, won’t tell their spouses, family members, and friends that they can’t do something at the moment because they’re working on a novel and truth of the matter is, fiction writers aren’t taken seriously when they say that they have to work.
So your spouse, family members, and friends, might get angry at you for not giving them attention even though the mathematics of it all is that you’re working and not avoiding them. If you do have time for them, you will spend time with them, but more often than not, you don’t. It’s no accident that most fiction writers live lonely lives. Being one, there will be close bonds that will be severed. Some writers do manage to keep their marriages and other relationships in tact, but with many that’s not always the case.
3. Becoming Introverted:
I personally hate this side-effect of writing fiction. Before I began my own novel writing crusade, I’ve had normal jobs. The person I was then and the person I am now are two very different people. What? Am I suffering from multi-personality disorder or something? Nope. It’s the writing. It caused me to spend more time indoors than outdoors and as a result, I became less friendlier with people and I became more of a thinker than a talker.
People tend to say that people who write and read all day do it because they’re afraid of the world. I’d say that it’s true, but only to some extent. As I said, before writing, I was a more outgoing person and I always found it easy to talk to people. Now, however, I’d have to not write a single sentence at all if I know that I’m going to be among a whole bunch of people at some time during the day. I’m full-blown introverted now and actually hate having to be between people. But being alone and having no one to talk to might seem like the ideal scenario for many fiction writers, it’s actually not a good thing. At all.
4. Dirty Houses:
Don’t laugh, because it’s true. Fiction writers can be the most disgusting people on the planet. A kitchen full of dirty dishes, a washing machine overloaded with clothes in need of washing, and a bedroom that looks like World War 3. Go inside a novelist’s house right now and chances are nine out of ten that you’ll find at least one of the aforementioned three.
Dirty houses might not be a problem for all authors depending on who they live with or whether they can afford maids and stuff. For me, between writing and cleaning, getting my writing done is far more important. At the end of the day, I’m tired and zombified while there’s always something that’s dirty in the house. One day it’s the floor, the next the dishes, and so on. This doesn’t mean I like living in a pigsty though. It’s just what it is.
5. Unhealthy Diets:
When you write fiction full-time, you write in sessions and after each one you take a small break. The break is small, therefore, you have something like 30 – 60 minutes to see to a couple of your living needs. Cleaning, buying groceries, taking the dog for a walk, etc. There is always something that needs doing.
Within the time frame of the break you take, you might find yourself hungry. In most of those break sessions, you won’t have time to think about healthy food. You’ll just about grab anything to put in that stomach of yours just to stop the growling and get back to your writing. And foods like pizza and other takeaways will be your best friend.
There are only five things I’ve pointed out in this post, but there are so many other things that I haven’t mentioned. As a child, I used to wonder what it would be like to be a novelist. To me, writing novels was far better than becoming an astronaut and going to the moon. Becoming a novelist was the coolest thing ever! But now, you know, sometimes I wouldn’t mind being that white-suited fella with the TV head sent up to space instead.
All images used found on Pixabay.