Why I’ve Never Published a Full-Length Novel

“Become an indie author,” they said. “It’ll be fun!” they said.

And it is! But it’s also slightly daunting for someone like me.

People always say that unless an incredible miracle happens, if you want to make it anywhere in indie publishing, you have to write a lot of books. It’s the only way to get your name out there and grow your readership. Just keep writing and writing, but make sure it’s good. (Although, I’ve honestly heard some people say to write sub-par books and produce lots of them. I have no doubt it can get you money, but seriously? I choose quality over quantity, every time.)

“Awesome!” I thought. “I have so many drafts saved in my Documents folder! I’ll be able to publish tons of stuff!”

And, well…here I am two years later with two published collections of short stories on top of the many stories I’ve posted here on the blog. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of what I’ve written! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to publish my two book babies.

But with six (maybe more?) full-length manuscripts just sitting on my laptop and gathering dust (most of which I wrote in high school), I keep asking myself: Why can’t I publish a full-length book?

As you can tell, I wrote books in droves when I was younger. With every spare moment I got, I was writing at my little white desk on my old, clunky laptop. What happened to her? I wondered as I remembered. What happened to that girl who could just write an entire full-length novel like it was nothing?

The thought continued to bug me, and one day, the answer slapped me in the face as I was right in the middle of working on Project Pea, my biggest WIP.

Fear.

When I was in high school, I had no fear of failure when it came to my writing. I just wrote whatever was in my head, and to me, it was good. I never really thought about what would happen to my stories; I just wanted them to be.

Now, I look back at that same writing and cringe. Over the past eight or more years, I’ve learned and experienced quite a bit more when it comes to writing. I can easily tell the difference between good writing and bad writing. I like to think I had a pretty good concept of that back then, too, but there was a big difference. Whether my writing was good or not, I wasn’t afraid of it. I wrote boldly.

And somewhere along the way, I lost that.

Even as I work on Project Pea, I do so with a sense of trepidation at every step. What if this turns out awfully? Can I even finish this? Do I know how to write a book like this?

I have so much knowledge about book writing stuffed into my head, but still, I tell myself I can’t do it. Though writing short stories and writing books are rooted in the very same concepts, I can’t take my previous stories as proof that I can write a book. At this point, I don’t even think I’ll believe it once I finish Project Pea.

This is the reality of fear, probably the biggest enemy we face as writers. Certainly the biggest enemy I face.

I’ve been reading Do It Afraid by Joyce Meyer, an awesome book on how to recognise and deal with fear. I’m not even halfway through it, but already, it’s helping me to think differently about fear. So many times we think that to move forward, we need to get rid of fear; but many times, fear doesn’t just “go away,” so we think we can’t go on. Instead, we have to learn to do it afraid, and only then will fear start to retreat.

This book really got me thinking about my fear when it comes to Project Pea. Since I was very young, I felt God calling me to be an author. Back then, and even when I was in high school, I didn’t have all of the tools I needed yet to write books. Now, I believe that I do, or that I’m very close. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I’ve learned and grown more in my writing throughout my life, that fear of failure and the “imposter syndrome” have increased.

I didn’t have the tools I needed to write good books when I was younger, but I did it anyway. Now, I have all the tools I need, and I halt because I’m scared. It doesn’t make sense!

But now I know that the barrier is fear. I know it’s trying to keep me from the plan God has for me.

And I know that the only solution is to do it afraid.

Even today as I’m working on Project Pea, I still feel that fear nagging in my mind, that certainty that I’m going to fail and all of my work will have been for nothing. But I remind myself of that girl who sat at her desk night after night, writing her heart out no matter what it sounded like. I can write a book. I will write a book.

And that’s where I’m at with Project Pea. Stay tuned for more details about my journey writing my first full-length novel for traditional publication!


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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Why I’ve Never Published a Full-Length Novel

  1. Pingback: Announcing My Next Book! | E.J. Robison

  2. Pingback: A Setback…but With a Bright Side | E.J. Robison

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