The Great American Novel

OK, so you want to be a writer.  You should ask yourself a few questions regarding your desire to write.  First, Why do you want to write?  The second is, What are you going to write?  

Writers have to be highly motivated.  There is probably no other job on this planet requiring more self-motivation and discipline than writing.  Which comes back to the question of why?

There are many reasons for writing.  English poet and essayist Samuel Johnson said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” 

Many desire to write for the reason of money.  There is nothing wrong with that; but you have to be capable of writing well.  You must also have something pertinent to say about your subject.  Otherwise, no one will pay to read your essays.

One misconception about writing is that once you have finished your project, you will attain great wealth when published.  Oops, sorry to say, this isn’t so.

Writing The Great American Novel is one thing and you should be thrilled with having accomplished your writing goal.  However, do not expect money just to come rolling in because, “you’re published.”  This is the biggest mistake of some authors.  They assume once published, they will be rich and famous and never have to work another day for the rest of their lives.

Actually, after a writer finishes the writing project, the next phase begins.  What?  You did not know about the next phase?  What is the next phase?

The next phase is marketing. 

Once your book rolls off the presses, you have to get it out in front of the public.  No one is going to do this for you.  You have to do it.  You have to go out and “press the flesh,” talk to people, introduce yourself and your book, make radio and television appearances, talk to reporters, arrange book reviews, and acquire endorsements.  And you have to do a lot of this.

Oh yeah, you won’t make any money with your book unless you do all these things.  To make money as a book author requires sales, to acquire sales you have to promote.  And you, the author, are the most qualified to do the promoting.  If you are unwilling, no one will know you as a writer, even though you have a published book. 

Which brings us to the second question – what are you going to write? 

The Great American Novel is a lofty dream.  For most, it is an unattainable dream.  Fiction is fickle, at best.  There is a lot going against writing fiction, the first and primary is the idea people do not have time to read for pleasure.

This is a different time in which we live.  The masses are concerned with making their bills, doing well at work, raising their children right, and taking care of their aging parents.  There is little time left over for pleasure reading.

If you are a capable writer who knows how to use verbs, adjectives, nouns and pronouns properly and can use reason and logic in your writing, there are many writing assignments out there for you.  If you can avoid passive sentences and write in active voice, you can sell a great deal of non-fiction information.

After all, important information is what the public is currently lusting.


© 2010 J. Clark

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1 Response to The Great American Novel

  1. flyinggma says:

    I write not to write the Great American Novel but to take life’s experiences, emotions, thoughts and put them in words in hope that the person that chooses to read my written words can imagine, feel, and think some of my thoughts through the interpretation. Am I there yet?

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