Over half of Americans think the story of their life is worthy of a book

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks reveals the books people would hate to see banned (Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash).

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 found just 15% have started writing a novel, and a mere 6% have gotten halfway through.

By contrast, 24% have successfully completed a poem, three times more than those who’ve authored a completed novel (8%).

Writer’s block seems to be the biggest barrier, as 33% faced difficulty getting inspired and coming up with ideas, more so than not having enough free time (26%) or being a perfectionist (16%).

Those who called it quits said they couldn’t come up with an ending (40%) and got bored with the story or characters (36%).

And three in five (60%) 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%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks ahead of National Novel Writing Month, the survey also found 55% think their own life is worthy of being made into a book or a movie.

More than half of respondents (54%) want to share their challenges and how they overcame them, while the same percentage consider themselves to be interesting characters — enough that they feel their story should be published.

As for who should ultimately pen their life’s tale, popular picks included 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 identified as 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,” said a spokesperson for ThriftBooks. “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.”

Results also found that although half of those polled weren’t keen on assigned reading in school, 62% 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%, and 54% said watching the movie adaptations made them 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 others.

“Our perspectives on literature can evolve throughout our lives,” the spokesperson added. “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!”


  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee — 39%
  • “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck — 38%
  • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald — 36%
  • “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger — 36%
  • “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker — 34%
  • “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding — 29%
  • “Ulysses” by James Joyce — 27%
  • “1984” by George Orwell — 26%

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