Why I Want to Write a Bad Novel

It's not all that complicated. I love books and I want to write one. I'm also a perfectionist and I have excellent taste in books (#modesty), so it's hard for me not to get frustrated with what I write. Unfortunately, if I stop and rewrite every chapter, paragraph, sentence, and word, I will not finish a novel. And everyone knows the famous equation: 1 novel > 0 novels.

That is why I want to write a bad novel. I just really want to finish one book, even if it's terrible. Once it's done, I'll be a novelist, which will be pretty cool. Plus, even if it's terrible, I can still revise it and perhaps make it better. Also, hopefully I'll have learned something and my next book will be better.

So, now that the plan is to write a bad book, how can I achieve this? First of all, I can skip doing any research. Well, that is not a great idea, when my main character is a multiracial gay man who loves video games, and I am a straight white man who knows very little about video games. I don't see that turning out super well. In fact, I think research is going to be essential if I want to write a good book. However, research is not essential in order to write a bad book. In fact, minimizing research will ensure that the book at least gets completed.

I do think research will be a very important part of my process, but I don't want it to get in the way of my putting words on paper. I will spend some time researching each week, but I'm still going to add to the story as I go. I'm sure I will make all sorts of foolish and terrible mistakes that I will have to go back and fix later, but you can't fix a novel that hasn't been written.

Next, I'm going to try to ignore inconsistencies. If my main character loves sushi in one chapter, and is allergic to fish in the next one, because I've messed up and forgotten some key fact, that is okay. I don't have to change anything right away. I'll fix it in the edit.

Finally, I'm going to commit to spending some of my time each day just putting new words on paper, not researching, not planning, not revising. The new words may be the wrong ones, but I can always edit them later.

I suspect future me will hate current me for all the editing I'm going to make him do. But on the other hand, future me will get to be a novelist, and I think that's pretty cool. You're welcome future me!