author, creative writing, writing

Novel Writing: What if it’s all for Nothing?

As a self-confessed optimist, I try to work towards everything with a sense that achievement is on the horizon. But, I’m only human, and recently something has been nagging at me. It’s something that I’ve seen many other unpublished writers worrying about to. After years of working hard on a project, rewriting, revising, studying; what if it’s all for nothing?

It stems, I think, from a fear of rejection, a worry that our work will never be read or appreciated. And with that in mind, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all, including ways to stop that question from taking over.

1. It’s never for nothing
I’ve put this as point one, because it’s by far the most important, and I think writers need to hear it. I know I did. Sometimes, when you have a dream or a goal it’s easy to assume you’re failing if you’ve not reached it yet. Especially if that dream is to be published. And if you worry that you’ll never be published, this is when you may start wondering if it’ll all be for nothing. Well, it’s not. It’s never for nothing. Writing a novel is a huge achievement, and the skill and persistence and determination that it takes to keep editing is worth celebrating too. Aim big, but be proud of achieving your mini goals too, be micro-ambitious and see what happens. Every success is important, and so it is never, ever for nothing. Especially when you consider point two…

2. Remember why you write
Why did you start writing? I bet hardly any of you woke up one day and decided that the fast track to becoming rich and famous was by novel writing. (It’s not even the slow track to being rich and famous!) So what was it? For me, it started out as pure enjoyment and then became a stress relief, a hobby that bought me happiness. And if you write because it makes you happy, because it makes you less afraid or less anxious, because it’s an escape, or simply because you love to write then it is never for nothing. It is for your sanity and your pleasure! Never forget that.

3. Don’t give up
Last, but not least; don’t give up. Haven’t written a word in months? Haven’t finished your first draft yet? Received 50 rejections from 50 different agents? Keep going. If this is your passion, embrace it, and never let it go. If you give it your all, then it is never all for nothing, no matter what the outcome. Because you are a fiery, passionate, storyteller with big dreams and that means it has all been something, trust me.

Do you ever worry that it’s all for nothing? Perhaps some of what I’ve spoken about will help you realise it’s not. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this complex matter, the internal battle between writing for the love and wanting to make a career out of it.

Do comment below, or message me any time, to let me know your thoughts.
Until then,
Keep writing,

You can also come and chat on twtitter, or instagramΒ 

56 thoughts on “Novel Writing: What if it’s all for Nothing?”

  1. It’s never for nothing. Finishing a novel, even if it never gets publishing is something. Not just something, a significant success that most people will never reach. Great advice, as usual! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So true ❀ Glad you enjoyed the post. I think it's easy to become a bit down trodden at times, it's a lot of hard work and so it's easy to think, "well what for?" But it's for us, for ourselves and our personal achievements. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ Hope you're well x

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Perfect post, M! It’s so easy to slip into the doubt, but remembering all of these awesome points can turn it around. I definitely write for my own sanity and pleasure, anything after that is a bonus. Glad to hear you pulled yourself out of a slump. Happy writing for the week ahead 😊.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Great points thank you! I started writing to keep my head above water as a stay at home mum and meanwhile can’t imagine my life without it – the process of writing a novel once I realised that was where I was headed has been and continues to be a life changing process that has led me also to start taking blogging and ig onto a next level all of which is helping me to learn to take my writing seriously but without taking the fun 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks πŸ’— not sure what you mean with keep the phone but I agree that it’s important to keep the passion going and recently I’ve realised how important community is – sharing with other writers πŸ’•


  4. A fantastic post and very on point for me. I used to stress about the outcome, being signed by an agent and then getting published. But recently I’m looking at it from a different perspective, writing is a passion regardless of the outcome. I’m grateful to those I meet on my journey, my beta readers and my own perseverance. We’re already writers, enjoy it, whatever follows is a bonus. It helps to live in the moment, take action towards our goals and have faith in ourselves and our dreams. Never quit!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Needed this today (and every day probably!). Fiction has never been about making money for me; it’s about the joy of it all, and sometimes that joy gets crushed when outside forces (i.e. well-meaning friends and family) ask when you’re ever going to get published! It’s easy to fall into that trap, and forget why we write in the first place. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good points.
    If you have one enthusiastic reader β€” yourself β€” then you have done the job you set out to do. If you have a story that not even you enjoy reading, then it is back to the drawing board to figure out why and fix it. Either way, you have created something more than if, for example, you had spent that time solving crosswords!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this! What I’ve realized along the way is that just me going through the process has taught me so much about myself and life in general. More than that, the fact that I had the courage to sit down and try has encouraged others to try as well. Regardless of where my writing goes, it’ll have all been worth it for those reasons alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks so much for this inspirational article.
    Writing is a life safer for me. It does bring me joy, and that’s why I’m still writing. It helps me understand myself and my world, and I hope one day, I’ll help other people understnad themselves and their world.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the reminder! It’s a struggle to stay motivated to keep going sometimes, but I know that completing my novel will be worth it, even if nobody reads it. If nothing else, writing such a long piece really instills another level of patience.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post! I certainly have those ‘what if it’s for nothing?’ thoughts. But I do love the process, and the friends and connections I’ve made through writing, so you’re right – it’s never for nothing! Thanks for the positive reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that quote! I saw a similar one, that I adore. It was when I was considering whether or not to do my part time degree, as it takes 6 years and I thought about how long that was. The quote was “That time will pass anyway.” So true! I’m 2 years in now, love it and more than happy for the next 4 years! πŸ™‚ Happy writing x


  11. The one thing that worked for me was concentrating on things I could control. We can control our writing, our queries, synopsis, etc…What we can’t control are those in charge of accepting or rejecting our work.

    My book went through a lot of changes but all of them were under my control. Two editors, lots of queries and lots of rejections. In May I was offered a contract.

    There is no magic to this. Keep your mind focused on the things in front of you and make them a little better each time.

    Excellent post. Thanks!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the post! Sometimes, this really is the hardest part about being a writer, more so than having to go through multiple drafts, outline, develop the characters and the plot, and so on. If we’re deter,knee enough to do it, then all of that stuff eventually comes together. But when you are in your own way, that’s a different matter. If you can dream it, you can do it. Keep on keeping on, fellow writers!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. It fills me with hope as well, and I feel especially proud when I end up doing something productive with my work, since my biggest weakness is often procrastination for one reason or another. And thank you for asking about my writing, by the way! It is going well, and I’m still hard at work on my debut novel, which I hope to get published by the end of this year. I hope your writing is going well, too, and please keep me updated!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To answer your question of which way I’m going, I’m planning on self-publishing. I have already been talking to some people who I think will be able to help me with this. Things may go a bit differently than what I have planned at the moment, but we’ll just see where God takes me with this.

        Liked by 1 person

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  14. I ran into a tweet that spoke to me on this topic:

    “Writing is never wasted. And I’m not just saying this because I have whole books of material that never made it into my books.

    I just mean, we don’t look at all the time a musician spent playing scales and think, “Well that was a waste.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is great! All 3 points are extremely valid.
    I remember the first novel that I wrote. It never went on to getting published and today I’m glad that it didn’t. In general terms, you might even say that it was all for nothing but that’s not true.
    I learned so much from that experience and got so much practice of the art by writing every day for months. The effort is never for nothing. Each failure teaches you and makes you stronger than ever before.

    Liked by 1 person

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