I just read an article in the Guardian which described a new book by Cory Arcangel called “Working on My Novel”…which apparently consists of nothing but tweets from people who claim to be “working on their novel.”
While I don’t have a Twitter account, I do have this writing blog. Just a casual glance at the WordPress Tag page reveals that there are many, many other bloggers out there “working on a novel” as well. In fact, just few weeks ago, I learned that one of my doctors was also hard at work on a novel–a follow up to his first self-published effort.
It seems as though the actual act of writing a novel isn’t enough. You also have to TELL people about it. I suspect this impulse isn’t a narcissistic cry for attention; it’s a declaration that you are, in fact a writer–one who fully intends to have readers one day. The announcement is a challenge, a gauntlet flung down in the name of literature. When someone says “I’m working on a novel”, the universe responds with an indifferent shrug. “That’s nothing,” the universe says. “So are hundreds of thousands of other people. Let me know when you’re actually DONE.”
And that’s when the actual hard work begins.