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Please Don't Write That Novel, Sincerely Everyone

Dear lockdown-fuelled aspiring authors everywhere, It’s true that some iconic works of literature have come out of their authors’ confinement; Don Quixote, Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, Mein Kampf (ok bit of a stretch but I have limited knowledge and you get the idea…) to name a few. In our current state of lockdown, it seems that every young creative * gag * has taken it upon themselves to finally accept their artistic calling and I am seriously concerned. I didn’t want to read your Rupi Kaur style poetry before, but at least your disappointing use of metaphor was limited by the demands of a somewhat busy schedule.

Yes, ok, Nelson Mandela wrote Conversations with Myself during his prison sentence, but that lasted over a quarter of a century not three weeks and his view of the outdoors was through iron bars not French windows. Oh, and also, you’re not Nelson Mandela, or Oscar Wilde or Cervantes and hopefully not Adolf… Struggles can certainly bring out some sort of authorial gift but your stockpiling of oat milk and eight hour Netflix binges are hardly a brilliant source of literary inspiration.

If Olivia Atwood thinks that Love Island’s rules were stricter than lockdown then why isn’t Dani Dyer’s debut work What Would Dani Do? My Guide to Living Your Best Life heralded as a masterpiece? Ah yes, because being locked inside does not suddenly qualify you as a writer. At least Dani Dyer has fans dedicated (or stupid) enough to want to buy her book. I doubt how many of your friends want to sit down and read your gripping reimagining of Jane Eyre set in space.

Maybe I’m being too harsh and sure, there are probably some burgeoning literary geniuses out there but I would suggest that if you haven’t been bothered to write your novel until you are locked inside with nothing else to do, maybe what you’re hearing is not so much an artistic calling but your own previously undiscovered narcissism. So please, please don’t write that novel.

Sincerely, Everyone.

By Marianne Porter

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