NEW YORK — More than half of Americans think they’ve got a good idea for a novel in them, but most have never attempted to write one. A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents reveals just 15 percent have actually started writing a book and a mere six percent have gotten halfway through. In contrast, 24 percent have successfully completed a poem, three times more than those who’ve actually authored a completed novel (8%).
Writer’s block seems to be the biggest barrier, as 33 percent say they face difficulty finding inspiration or coming up with ideas — more so than not having enough free time (26%) or being a perfectionist (16%).
So you want to write a book?
Those who called their writing career quits say they couldn’t come up with an ending (40%) or got bored with their story or characters (36%). Three in five think it’s easier to write young adult or kids’ fiction than any other genre. A similar amount (62%) believe these books are easier to write because they’re shorter and that children are an easier audience to write for (59%).
More than half the poll (54%) want to share their challenges and how they overcame them, while the same number of Americans consider themselves to be an interesting character — enough that they feel their story should be published. As for who should ultimately pen their life’s tale, popular picks include Chinua Achebe, J. K. Rowling, and Stephen King.
When asked who they’d cast as themselves in the movie adaptation, respondents’ choices ranged from Melissa McCarthy, Jennifer Lopez, and Sandra Bullock to Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, and the late Chadwick Boseman. Interestingly, those who consider themselves avid readers were much more likely to consider their lives to be worthy of a book or movie adaption (63% vs. 37%).
“Each year, thousands of writers of varying experience levels from around the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in just 30 days, which in and of itself is a truly incredible accomplishment,” says a spokesperson for ThriftBooks in a statement. “National Novel Writing Month highlights the fact that writing doesn’t have to be a solo activity, with people forming communities and sharing resources to help each other reach their goals.”
Reading is wasted on the youth
Although half of the respondents weren’t keen on assigned reading in school, 62 percent have developed a greater appreciation for classic novels over time. On average, respondents fell in love with these stories roughly nine years after reading them for the first time.
Being older and having more life experience changed the perspective of 55 percent of the poll. Another 54 percent feel watching the movie adaptations allows them to enjoy the novels more.
When given a list of common school curriculum classics, people revealed their newfound appreciation for “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee (45%) and “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (38%), among other famous titles.
“Our perspectives on literature can evolve throughout our lives,” the spokesperson adds. “The experiences that each of us amasses can also shape our goals as writers, too. Each year is a new opportunity to try your hand at writing the book you always wanted to read!”