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To Write Novels or not to Write

writing a novelModern world is really curious when it comes to its relationship with writers, most notably, writers of novels. On the one hand, it has never been easy to make oneself heard: submit your novel to any publishers you want, and quite often you don’t even have to bother about posting envelopes with your work because online admissions are more easily accepted; if you can’t find a publisher, publish the book on your own, it isn’t all that hard and costly; if you don’t want to spend any money at all, publish online and wait for the fame to come, if it is going to.

On the other hand, a problem arises exactly due to the very fact of the openness of modern world. People today are bombarded with all kinds of information every moment of their lives. All the novels written in the past are still there, waiting to be read; thousands of new novels in all languages of the world get published every year; hundreds of thousands more never make it to the bookstores because they are rejected by publishers, but they still exist. Any new novel written today will be immediately lost in this ocean.

So why one would want to write them, anyway? Statistics show that even among the writers who manage to publish their novels only about one in a hundred get any financial success from their work. In majority of cases there are much easier and effective ways to earn the same and greater amounts of money than spending time writing novels that are unlikely ever to be published and, if published, to sell. So, if you want to become rich, writing novels isn’t for your, period.

Fame? The times when to write a novel was the best way to become famous are long gone. Today’s celebrities are movie actors and television personas, not the people who put words together for a living.

Immortality? People have long ago ceased to perceive novelists as a special kind of people, the kind that deserves respect and admiration. Anybody can write a novel nowadays, all you need is a very basic level of literacy, and it removes the veil of mystery around this vocation. As a result, there is nothing special in any particular novel, and every novel lasts for a season at the very most. Afterwards it will be forgotten, buried under heaps of new novels, and nobody will ever remember it.

But, despite all this, people still write novels, spend enormous amounts of time, energy and money trying to do it, publish it, and get it through to the audience. Everybody knows that fiction writing is a thankless toil, but it doesn’t stop them. Why?

Probably for one single reason: writing novels is one of the few ways to truly live in fictional worlds, the worlds you rule, worlds that have never been but could be. And by writing novels you may, in your own little way, shape the future of the world you have to actually exist in.

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