Monthly Archives: November 2017

What does it take to be a novelist?

Step 1 is learning how to write fiction at a reasonably high level. To do this, you need to write about a million words. This will take about five years. (Reference https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/complexity-and-the-ten-thousand-hour-rule)

Step 2 you need to have been born as the sort of person who loves telling stories, who loves the process of sitting down at the keyboard everyday, who loves drawing portraits of interesting people, of facing intricate problems of motivation and event and weaving them into fascinating — nay, compelling — narratives.

Step 3 you need to be the sort of person who has a ton of grit and determination, you have to have an insatiable hunger for recognition. You have to have that feeling of “I’ll show them.” If you don’t have it, don’t try to become a writer. It’s part of the animal, it’s primitive, but if you don’t want to do the work (see Step 1) and rise above the crowd (see Step 2), forget it.

On the other hand, if you want a happy, fulfilling life, get a degree in accounting and marry an actuary, or maybe a teaching certificate or maybe an R.N. and then become a physician’s assistant in a pediatric intensive care ward. Marry a doctor, raise a family, dote on your grandchildren.

Nothing in life is better than grandchildren. Try to set things up so that you have some.

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