Many people want to become authors. I have a couple of friends that are really pushing for it, but we met at a novel-writing summer camp, so that’s pretty much a given. My sister’s friend is also in the process of writing a novel. She’s a Freshman, which is the same grade I was in when I started working on my book. The point is that it’s never too early but also never too late to start writing.
You don’t need to be in it for the money; maybe you just want to see your name on a shelf. Maybe you feel fulfilled by writing but also wish people would read it. Maybe you want a project that’s solely in your hands until the publication process, one that will impress your family and make you proud of yourself.
There are a million reason for why you would want to write a book, but let me give you a few for why you should. You probably know that a novel is a huge commitment with a huge word count. Mines’ ended up being about 74,000 words, though yours will be different depending on your genre and story. You’ve probably seen websites that tell you writing a novel isn’t hard, that all you have to do is jot down 100 words a day and you’ll have 73,000 words in two years, but they don’t account for the research, the editing, and the doubt. Does that mean you shouldn’t write a book? No. My book might have taken me three years to publish, but I finished the first draft in a year and a half, which is pretty quick for a student trying to balance multiple extracurricular activities. The truth is that the amount of work you put into your book will vary every day. Some days you might feel a spike of inspiration, giving you the drive to write a thousand words or more. My first three thousand words were completed in one weekend, and I’ve heard of authors who can write 23,000 words a day. Honestly, you shouldn’t even worry about your word count at first. If you need extra scenes by the time your book is done, then add those in. Writing is a flexible process, and it’s about what works for you.
People forget that the point of writing isn’t just to have a finished product. It’s also about what you learn in the process. For me, completing my first book improved my grammar drastically and also solidified my writing voice. Before, it would flit around to mimic whatever author I was reading at the time, but after about 45,000 words, my own style began to color my writing. It still contains elements of other authors’ works, but that’s a good thing; you should be reading as much as possible so you can create your own unique mix of pacing, sentence structure, and word choice.
Even if you never publish your book, I guarantee that your essays (if you’re a student), emails, and just every piece of writing will improve dramatically, transcending utility and actually becoming passionate and engaging while still meeting that academic baseline. Your speeches will be more eloquent, and your vocabulary will inevitably skyrocket as you search up synonyms to stop boring repetition.
Look, I get it if you think you don’t have the time or the experience, but the good thing about writing is that you don’t need to be the best. All you need to do is make your voice and story shine through with a book that people will enjoy in their own way—under your guidance, of course. And even if you never finish it, the skills you acquire will last you a lifetime.