Writing a Novel vs. Writing a Collection of Poetry


My name is Ayanna Bates. I am 19 years old and I have published my first book. What?! How exciting right?!

I published a collection of poems, around 90 or so; and it took me about a year to write and gather these poems. The book, An Old Teen, is pretty successful at this point and I am proud of it. Now is the time for a new challenge; my first novel. Que the scary music.

As a young author who is full of ideas and countless stories, the concept of writing an entire novel is pretty alarming. Poetry for me is short and sweet. A novel seems long and daunting. What can I say, writing a poem comes naturally to me. Writing a novel seems like it will take years. And in reality, it can. Though, I am so eager to get my work out there.

In my life time, I have written at least 7 unfinished novels. It is completely frustrating. I have the beginning of the book, how I want it to end, but I am missing the huge chunk in the middle. They say to outline your book but I am the type of writer who sits down and goes at the seat of their pants. That’s just me, who else is a pantser?

So if you’re like me, maybe noveling does not come as easily to you as you would hope. Maybe writer’s block is a common theme or you are constantly stuck at a page or editing that paragraph.

Here are a few tips for my pantsers out there pulled from a panster and writer, Joan C. Curtis:

  1. Listen to your characters
  2. Allow new characters to emerge even if it happens on your very last page
  3. When in the middle of a scene, go deep inside yourself to create what might happen
  4. Don’t worry about editing from the beginning

I think these are some awesome tips. Especially for a young author such as myself trying to delve into the world of noveling.

I will always be a poet but I am excited to attempt my first fictional novel and to succeed at that.

-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY


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