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You Can Write the Great American Novel

I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade.

Okay, so I didn’t finish it. And, to be honest, the plotline made no sense at all. I even stole the characters from my then-favorite series, The Bobbsey Twins. Still, no one could question the motives of my heart as I hid in my closet and scribbled, scribbled, scribbled the hours away.

What did I come up with, you ask? A story unlike any other before it. Or any thereafter, for that matter. In short, my first work of fiction was a hot mess. Still, I’d done it. I’d written my imaginative tale down for all the world to see.

Don’t Hide Your Talents Under a Bushel!

Only, no one saw it. Not a single, solitary soul. I buried my light—er, novel— under a proverbial bushel and told no one about my story or my desire to write. Normal people didn’t come up with make-believe tales, after all. They didn’t daydream the hours away with fictional worlds unfolding before them. They made good grades in school and grew up to have normal, sensible jobs. Jobs that paid money.

Still, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I’d been put on this earth to accomplish something different. Something uniquely me. I was born to write and no amount of denying it would make it un-so.

I might never be a John Steinbeck, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, or Harper Lee. I might never write a book as good as Uncle Tom’s Cabin or the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But I would try. And I wouldn’t give up until I made progress.

What About You?

Do you dream of the Great American Novel?

When did you first get the itch to write? Are you hoping to impact current and future generations?

If you’re like most author-types, you came out of the womb with stories leaking out of you. Perhaps your creativity got you into trouble in school. Maybe you attempted to pen your off-the-wall tales as a child, only to have your dreams squelched. Perhaps some non-dreaming-types rained on your parade and encouraged you to take up something less grueling. . .like brain surgery.

Well, look up, discouraged author. There has never been a better time to write and sell your novel. The world is hungry for excellent stories, and, unlike what you might have believed, there’s even money to be made. Not fictional money, but the kind you can spend at your local Super Center. 

You just have to understand the concept of the Great American novel before you can write it. And that’s where these lessons come in. I hope that you can glean some advice to help you on your way.

Writing is a Journey

My journey toward publication didn’t end in the sixth grade, thank goodness. It took many years and a lot of tenacity, but I eventually scribbled my way into the elusive world of publication. I joined the ranks of other dreamers who dared to create heady fictional worlds where ordinary characters do extraordinary things.

To date, I’ve penned over 167 books, about half of which are novels. I didn’t achieve overnight success. In fact, I didn’t stumble into the world of publication at all. I worked my way there. Perhaps, if you read and follow the advice in these posts, you can work your way there, as well. I want you to practice saying the following words aloud:

“I love my life as a novelist.”
“I’m so privileged to do what I love.”
“Earning money with my writing is such a bonus.”

Doesn’t that feel great? Have I re-ignited a spark of hope inside of you, friend? If so, then turn the pages. Get ready. A new world awaits. You can set the literary world on fire. It only takes a spark!

Let me leave you with a list of some great American writers who actually did the hard work. Those wrote those novels, and we’re still reading them today!

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