It takes more than vision, discipline and a way with words to be a novelist. It takes a desire to recreate the world. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple grew up in rural poverty in Georgia with an overworked mother who insisted her children see the beauty in everything around them. “I could see from my mother that this world is magic,” Walker writes. Novelists, more than any others in the arts, excel by having the dual powers of observation and creation. They don’t just distill worlds like other artists, they construct them based on what they know, using words to invent families, cities and entire civilizations. Whether it’s Charles Dickens, the social realist who depicted his world in the same detail as Tom Wolfe, Nick Hornby and Colum McCann do today; or fantasists like Roald Dahl, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer, novelists have the magical ability to draw readers into the lives of others.
For novelists, the blank page is all about possibility and giving life to ideals through characters, plot and theme. And as with all creative archetypes, the source for great novelists comes from within but it is only with discipline and the removal of self-doubt that it flows. Toni Morrison, a master teacher, puts it this way: “If there’s a book that you want to read and it hasn’t been written yet then you must write it.”
Neil Gaiman, Robert Bolano, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger
Novelists are disciplined, but they can also be fun because they love to get out of the house after a hard day’s work. They can also be fabulous storytellers and convivial drinking partners.
Procrastination, especially in novelists, manifests itself in all kinds of ways including writer’s block, which can make living with them difficult. Also, because novels are essentially extensions of the mind, these Creatives can be more sensitive to criticism than others.
Solitude, reading for inspiration, talking about ideas, and critiquing other writers
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
“There is no gate, no lock no bolt you can set upon the freedom of my world.” -Virginia Woolf
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