Once you tried to write a novel, you will never see the literary world through the same eyes. And it shouldn’t be just a meaningless attempt. It should be that one time when you set yourself to struggle through the words and actually came up with a first-draft, and then you will be changed forever. Trust me, you will never read novels the same way ever again.
I have always loved reading novels but at the same time have always been very picky at what I should read. I would always go about finding reviews on certain novels before buying them, making sure they are worth my time and effort. If there wasn’t a really big sale going on I wouldn’t be stepping into a bookstore buying a book I just saw at that moment without doing a bit of background research on the book. I still do that until today, and I’m not planning to stop because I still believe bad writing is contagious, but the more I grow as a writer, I realized I’m also growing as a reader. And what I mean by growing as a reader is in terms of my respect for writers.
Writing is a difficult process. It takes a lot of time, effort, discipline and in a lot of aspects, pushes you to keep on going, even though your body and mind might disagree. It’s a process of shaping ideas and thoughts into structured sentences and paragraphs at certain lengths that should eventually produce an image to portray certain meanings. And this process is a tough one.
Writers have to go through many phases before having the book published, from first drafts, proofreading, editing, rewriting, second drafts, more editing and rewriting, and another draft and more rewritings until it’s (almost) perfect. Even after the writing part is done, they still have to lay their hands on many aspects of the publishing process, which will require time and energy, like in book signings, passage readings, book tours, interviews and etc. This series of phases could take months, even years, depending on the story that the writer is working on. I have tried writing novels several times now and surviving just a few months of writing the first draft was quite frustrating (though still enjoyable to some extend).
Knowing this makes me respect writers more and more each day. I still find many novels disappointing until today, but even after reading those novels, I find that no matter how badly I think over the book, the writer must have done something right because they were already published and I have not gone as far as they have. They have done a good work, otherwise editors won’t approve their work in the first place. In fact, I think they have all done great because they have struggled, survived and finally rise through the writing process.
And for this, and for a million other reasons that I couldn’t mention here, that I put the highest of my respect for writers out there.