I got folks who ask me all the time: why are you writing a novel?
What other people find strange is that I'm not the type of person they usually expect to be writing in the genre of YA novels*. Let's face it: present day YA novel industry (think Twilight, Hunger Games, Red Queen, etc.) that's mostly populated by authors who are white, female Liberal Arts majors. Writing a novel is not the stereotypical thing for a male, Asian, engineering PhD student to do.
But, I love writing fiction, and these are my top 3 reasons why:
1. Writing is fun!
For someone who has a tiring and not that fun day job, I love the escapism that fictional writing provides. When crafting an exciting plot or building a fictional world, you can forget about your troubles at work and tune out all the bad news in the world.
2. It's a hobby that can get you a positive return ($$) on your investment.
I understand that my chance of becoming a multimillionaire best seller is very, very slim. There are literally thousands of competing authors who are more talented and/or luckier than me.
But, as an amateur writer, writing is a great hobby. It doesn't cost much (just a word processing software and a computer), and if you're get good at lit (and lucky!), you can actually make some money.
Let's put it this way: writing a novel is a far cheaper (and safer!) thing to do on a Friday night than to get drunk at a downtown bar.
3. Writing a novel is good for you even if you never get published.
It won't be a waste of time even if all I get is rejection letters** from editors and publishers. Writing a novel teaches all sorts of valuable life skills.
For instance, you learn what it takes to succeed with a long-term project. Setting your goal of 500 words a day, and sticking to it until you finish your first draft teaches you self-discipline and control.
Writing all those words will also make you, well, good at writing in general! You might be surprised to learn that writing occupies a huge amount of time for those in the STEM (that's Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) field. All three of my graduate school advisers spend half their time writing stuff (academic papers, grant proposals, etc.). I found myself writing better in my day job ever since I took up novel writing as a hobby.
Now that I shared my reasons for writing, what about you? Are you working on your own novels or other fictional stories? Why do you love to write?
*BTW, I hate how the publishing industry insists on pigeonholing every novel and author into tight confines of genres.
**It gets really cold here in Nebraska, so I still get value from these letters as kindling for my fireplace.