Finding courage to start a novel

photo: heligan gardens
photo: heligan gardens

Writing a novel requires a lot of effort – like time, research, and creativity – and it’s probably not going to be a bestseller. Does it pay off? It’s not about the goal it’s about the journey.

About when I started editing my poetry book I thought about writing a fantasy/adventure novel. In fact what I really wanted was to draw some creatures, characters and places but… let’s say I’m not very skilled at drawing. So I decided to write those pictures instead. Indeed, the quote that will open my book will be “He who cannot paint, paints with words”.

Writing a book should have been one of Hercules’ labors, because it’s so hard! You need to use all your creativity to come up with a world, fill it with creatures, and act a story. For that you need to research and get inspired by art. Then you need to write and to do so you should read a lot to develop your writing. And finally you need to edit your draft.

And all this effort for what? To create a pdf that half a dozen people will fully read? To print a book and let it collect dust, so one day your grandchildren find it and, hopefully, read it? Does it pay off? Is it worth it?

When you play a game, do you want to win or do you want to play it? You want to win? Ok, you win, I lose, let’s go home. No? Oh, you want to play it? Ok, then let’s play!
José Pedro Cobra

That’s the main question: do you play a game to reach the end or to enjoy the time you spend playing it? Playing the game itself is much funnier than finishing it. The game’s end is just the outcome of your “play time”.

Finishing the book is just the outcome of the writing process. And the writing process is the real fun! Make it a party, challenge your friends to do the same and/or meet new writers. If you just want to boast about having a published book, just pick a theme and pay these guys and they’ll do everything for you.


I barely finished my research and let me tell you, I’m already enjoying it! The drawing above was the result of my “30 Days of WorldBuilding” during last summer. Boy, am I proud! Surely not as proud as Kevin Leung (author of chronoline) who got ahead of me and completed his NaNoWriMo last year. And like a proper geek he open-sourced the novel… at github.

What are you waiting for?

[Update: I really started my novel at NaNoWriMo’14]