You know what, I hate going to the gym, and I hate running. I hate sweating too. I’m not a huge fan of sweat. I avoid sweat, moving, and effort. If I ever get the option, I want to come back as an indoor house cat who lays in the sun and watches the outside world through a protective glass window and eats canned food, grain free dry food, and treats. I could be a good house cat.
I can manage to put forth effort, sometimes. If there’s one thing my three marathons and 30+ half-marathons have taught me, it’s that I can drag myself along a street long enough to flop on a finish line. Even when I have a race coming up, I can’t really bring myself to train. I hate training; it’s so much work.
Still, you know what, I did it. I did another thing too; I wrote a book. Actually, technically, Kill It With Magic is the fifth novel I’ve written. Its older siblings are dark horrid things that fester in the night. Sometimes they reach out with hands bleached white by their time in the box under my desk, begging me to read them. I don’t know why they want to make me cry, but they do, and it’s horrible.
I read a post recently, and it moved me so much that I actually made a long, well thought out comment. Why? Because I want to be that author guy everyone knows who sips French coffee (I hate coffee) and wears black turtlenecks (I haven’t done that since high school) and looks down at everyone else (it’s not personal). I get to do that, once.
Basically, this post was about whether or not everyone has a novel in them, and, to some extent, I sort of agree that everyone’s life can probably be distilled into a 250-300 page book where we will all laugh and cry. I believe that everyone does something in their life that I would like to read about. Probably.
But could anyone actually write a novel?
I don’t really think so. I think anyone can write a novel just like anyone can run a marathon, put together a million piece puzzle, or design an award winning invention.
I think it is possible for people to do these things. Like, you know, physically possible. In that we all can breathe possible. I still don’t think most people will do most of those things because it takes work to do any of those things. Because it takes work to do those things, well, that makes it impossible for most of the population.
Even the people who write a book by stabbing at a keyboard, littering the screen with semi-intelligent prose (been there) or hobble down a marathon course in five and a half hours (done that) put forth a degree of effort far beyond the average and even the above average person.
Writing a novel or running a marathon can be done with nothing short of effort. Not done well, but done. It still takes a lot of work. It’s estimated that 1% of the population has run a marathon. If you look at people who have done it more than once that number drops to like .1% of the population. I think it waxes exponential after that.
I’m not sure what the numbers are for people who have “written a book,” but my guess is that they’re similar. My guess is that most people look at the accomplishment and think they could do it because they can physically write down words, but that they won’t do it because the amount of effort involved is staggering.
News flash, that means you can’t do it. If you could, well, you wouldn’t tell me you could do it, you’d point at a finished book or a finisher’s medal. You wouldn’t bring down every marathon finisher and every author with a tome under their belt by saying “Oh I thought about writing a novel, I have this great idea.”
Yeah well, didn’t Thomas Edison say, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”