People are often told that everyone has a novel inside of them, but how do you get it out? How do you learn how to write that book? Let’s explore some of the options:

Well, first off, I know many people who never took writing classes, never read books on writing craft. They just started writing. And they did amazing work. Many of them have written and published multiple novels and earned great reviews. It seems they are natural-born-writers.

Most of us aren’t them.

On the opposite side, we have people who take writing classes. Lots of classes. They even get an MFA (Master of Fine Arts). That’s a two-year program that trains you to become a skilled writer, communicator, and editor.

Most of us aren’t them.

In between are the people who either work with a professional mentor who helps them develop their writing skills. Or the people who read some of the hundreds of books about the craft of writing and practice, practice, practice. I’ve often heard people suggest that if you want to write novels, you should start by writing short stories. That works for some people, but I’ve never liked writing short stories.

How I learned to write novels is by reading those books about the craft of writing. It sometimes feels like I’ve read them all, but I haven’t. I estimate I’ve read about thirty of them, some of them multiple times. I participated in an online writers’ critique group and in an in-person small critique group. I’ve participated and even led a few in-person writers’ study groups. In addition, and most importantly, I’ve spent many years practicing, learning, evolving as a writer. It’s really a never-ending process.

So, what is the best way to learn to write a novel? I think it depends on the person, really. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to creativity, writing, and learning.

If you want to write a novel, try various methods of learning. Find something that works for you. And good luck! I love to hear about people venturing into novel-writing and succeeding.