Are You Emotionally Prepared to Become A Career Novelist?

You can walk from here to the ends of the earth and you’ll find tons of articles and advice telling you how to improve your writing or how to develop skill to become a novelist. But how many resources focus on the mental and emotional aspect of this increasingly difficult career? Not many.

I’ve been a novelist for a long time and I’ve learned that it cuts to the core of your soul. Why isn’t this addressed more often? Why don’t more writers share the impact, good and bad that writing can have on you emotionally?

Why? Well it’s not glamorous to discuss the not-so-perfect side of things. I’m writing this to nurture the novelist’s soul. You must be emotionally prepared to dedicate your life (and it could be your entire life) to turning writing one book into a career.

No one is fully prepared for the rocky road to publication. But there are ways you can stay sane, grow a thick skin and not let even the harder times affect your mentality. It takes becoming smart in mind and realizing that nothing in life is promised no matter how hard you work.

Not sure if you are emotionally up for this forever-changing jungle I call the writer’s life? Check out the points below. These mental exercises will not only give you a thicker skin but can effectively prepare your confidence for a realistic journey of seeking publication.

Define Your Personal Idea of Success and Goals for Inner Peace
Success means different things to different writers. Some think of success as gaining a publishing contract. Others want fame and riches. Others want to be revered in the industry as a literary pioneer and win a slew of awards for their hard work. Some just want to say they followed their dream. Do you even know what you consider success? If you don’t then you need to sit down and figure it out.

Train Yourself to Be Realistic
You might not wanna hear this but no one is guaranteed a publishing contract. You could write for decades and decades and not get a contract. You could be the best writer in your genre. You could go to every writing workshop, read every article and talk to every expert in the business and you might not get a contract. You could become friends with agents and NY editors, have them over to your house for the holidays and you still may not get a contract. Why? That’s just how life is. Becoming published is not something you can control. All you can control is your writing and your determination. So unless you are willing to look down a tunnel of uncertainty and can truly claim you are happy enough with writing to pursue it as a career anyway, you are not emotionally ready. Point blank.

Throw Away the Image in Your Head of a Career Novelist
One of the most damaging things for a new writer is fantasizing too much about what being a published novelist is like. You see writers on movies and the life seems so glamorous. They all have big NY publishers and agents. All of their books get on the best seller lists. Their agents fly down to meet them. Their publishers send them on elaborate book tours with the paparazzi in tow. They became a sensation overnight.
Now real life…

If this is how you think being a real-life novelist is than throw that idea out right now. Even the most famous of today’s novelists don’t live this way. The average novelist is a person just like everyone else. Most have their full-time jobs for the rest of their lives while writing books on the side. True? True. Some are unemployed and struggling and can’t pay their bills. Do you realize just how tiny a royalty check can be sometimes? Sometimes you’re lucky to be able to buy dinner with the size of a royalty check. Full-time novelists have all types of jobs and they live all types of lives but most do not live the glamorized life that’s portrayed on movies. So throw this idea out and if you are still attracted to becoming a career novelist, have at it. I wish you much luck.

This article might seem discouraging but it should to a point. You must be strong and thick-skinned beyond belief to wanna be a writer and take it on as a career. If you are lacking in that area you won’t have a chance at making it. So take the salt of my words along with the sugar. It’s all about wanting to be a novelist bad enough. If you do, then nothing I say can dissuade you.

If you are having second-thoughts about the importance of writing compared to the hard work put into it, maybe this career choice is not for you.
How much do you want it? That’s the question.


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3 thoughts on “Are You Emotionally Prepared to Become A Career Novelist?

  1. Stacy-Deanne

    Exactly, Sheila! I think it’s important for new writers to know the ugly side of writing because it will make them stronger as well as confirm and understand exactly what this career takes.

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