I’ve often heard that everyone has a book inside them. It may be true. But I think many people don’t realize how difficult it is to write a novel, let alone a good novel. First of all, you need self-motivation. You have to really want it, not so you can become famous, but because you have a burning need to write it.

You need tenacity, a willingness to keep writing no matter how difficult it is or how much criticism you receive.

You need a decent working knowledge of grammar and punctuation.

You need creativity/a good imagination.

You don’t have to write-what-you-know, but you need to be willing to do research to get the details right.

You need to read other people’s novels.

If you don’t already know how to create a novel, you need to study the basics of writing, plotting, character development, etc.

You need to be willing to get someone to edit or help edit your work. You don’t have to take every bit of their advice, because you are the author, but you’ll need to give adequate consideration to it and make your own decisions.

You need to practice writing. It can take years to learn and become proficient. And, yes, I do believe it can be learned. Some people are naturals at writing, and they can produce a winner on their first try. They’re the lucky ones. Most of us have to develop the skills over time. Luckily, we can do it. If you have a book inside you waiting to get out, don’t be afraid to try it, but don’t expect it to be easy or quick. If writing your first novel is your New Year’s goal, I wish you the best. It can be a very rewarding experience!