Ian Philpot

It occurred to me that I’ve written a lot about what I’m writing but very little about why I’m writing. So, on the eve of National Novel Writing Month, let me share why I’m attempting to write a novel this November.

Very few people know that I’ve had several of my poems published in a couple of literary journals. Those people are either related to me or they’ve read the small line at the bottom of my “writer’s résumé.”

I don’t talk about my published poetry because I feel like I’m too young for people to take my poetry seriously. And I’m kind of okay with that. I just keep it quiet.

But it’s my fiction writing is different from my poetry. Just the way I think about the fiction writing process is so different.

All of my fiction writing ideas start with one vision: a complex relationship.

For my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel, Those Who Are Yet to Come, the complex relationship was between two friends who had grown apart over college and were both trying to do good things in different ways.

This year, The Signateur is about a relationship that I’m not able to fully share yet because it would give away the whole novel. That’s probably what I’m so excited about in writing this November—I have a complexity that takes an entire novel to explain.

That excitement still doesn’t explain why I’m writing a novel.

I’m writing a novel in November because I want to reach an achievement I haven’t had before. This is bigger than just crossing off an item on my bucket list. This is about finally feeling accomplished in my writing. It’s about being an author. It’s about securing that piece of my identity that I’ve been claiming for years. Nearly every bio I write for myself starts with “Ian Philpot is a writer.” It’s a part of my identity.

So while my novel is about a complex relationship, it’s also about my validating my identity.

That’s why I’m writing a novel this November.


The text in the header image of this post is from a song called “Reasoned and Roughened” by Twin Forks. It’s becoming my theme for this year’s novel. You can listen to it here.