If you're here I'm assuming you want to write a book. You might have even been told, “You SHOULD write a book.”
And it makes sense! Everyday I hear from aspiring writers all over the world who tell me, “I want to write a book!”
But maybe you're wondering if it's really worth all the time and effort it will certainly take you to write a book. Maybe you're even wondering if you have what it takes, if you have the discipline, creativity, and talent to finish writing a book.
In this post, I'm going to share my seven favorite answers to the question “Why Write a Book,” and along the way, I hope it helps you come up with an answer for whether you should write a book. Then, I'll share some resources to help you get started with your book.
Why NOT to Write a Book
But before we get into why you should write a book, let's count the costs a little.
Because writing a book is really hard. You need to know both the benefits and the costs of writing a book so you can make the right decision for you.
Here are the three reasons you shouldn't write a book:
1. You Don't Have the Focus (Right Now)
Writing a book doesn't need to take that much time. It takes most people just an hour or two a day over a little more than three months to finish a draft of a book in our community (for example, here's how to write a book in 100 days). That's around 100 to 200 hours. Not a short amount of time, of course, but it's certainly achievable for most people
No, writing a book doesn't take that much time. What it does take is focus.
Because writing requires a lot of focus! If you don't have the energy to focus on your book over a few months time, then maybe it's not the right time to write a book. You can always come back when you're in a better place to write.
2. Writing Your Book Will Humble You
Writing a book is, in my experience and the experience of so many writers in our community, one of the most humbling experiences you can have.
For me, I've had some of my biggest moments of self doubt and insecurity while staring at the page, trying to think of what to write next, moments when I caught to the end of myself, when I thought, “I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I'm good enough for this. Maybe it would be better for everyone, the whole world even, if I just gave up.”
There are moments in the midst of writing your book when you will believe that your book is the worst one every written, when you are the worst writer of all time.
Every writer I know has felt like this at some point.
If you can't handle that feeling, pick yourself up, and write anyway, then this might not be for you.
3. Your Finished Book Won't Be Perfect
Finally, writing a book is especially hard for the perfectionists among us (like me!).
Right now, you might have a picture of what your book will look like when it's finished. If so, I want you to do something for me:
- Think about that perfect book in your head, as if you just finished it and you're now holding it in your hands.
- Then, in your imagination, open it up and tear out half the pages and throw them away.
- For the remaining half, imagine taking a can of spray paint and spraying randomly spots and lines on the pages, obscuring a good portion of the words.
For almost all of us, this is what our books feel like when they're finished: one-third perfect, one-third deformed, and one-third lost somewhere in the journey between our imagination and the page.
That isn't to say that your book won't still be good when you finish. It just won't turn out like you expect it to, and it certainly won't be perfect.
So knowing that, why write at all?
Seriously, I want you to ask yourself that question. Writing a book requires a huge amount focus and humility, and by the end won't even look like you want it to now.
Count the costs.
Is it still worth it to you?
Why You SHOULD Write a Book: 7 Reasons to Starting Writing NOW
Before you answer the question I posed above, let's talk about the seven best reasons you should write a book.
1. Because you have an idea that won’t let you go.
If you're reading this, you probably already have a book idea (and if you don't, here are 30 book ideas to get you started).
And maybe that idea has lodged itself so deeply into your brain that it won't let you go.
You just know that you need to write it. If you don't, it will haunt you forever!
2. To pass on something you’ve been given.
You've probably read a few books that have changed your life.
Think about those books now.
How amazing would it feel to have the same kind of impact on someone else, to pass on that feeling or knowledge or worldview to others?
Sometimes you read something that makes you finally feel understood as you never have before, or something that unlocks a whole new way of thinking about the world, or even something that makes you feel “at home.”
What if you could give that same gift to others? How great would that be?
3. Because you love to write!
If you love to write, you might as well be writing a book, right?!
4. To make a name for yourself.
There's a certain amount of hubris that comes with wanting to write a book, to be that person in the room who has accomplished such a huge feat.
Whether you want to make a name for yourself as a great writer or as an expert within your field or even as a thought leader, writing a book can be a great avenue to do that.
Even more it can be a way to share who you are, your worldview and values, and who you are with the world.
5. To make money.
While writing a book isn't the easiest way to make money, it's certainly possible.
Even better, it can be a way to earn passive income, income that lasts for years, decades, or even after your gone.
However, writing a book can also be a way to advance your career in a specific field, to grow an audience, or to build some kind of brand. In other words, writing a book can be a way to help you get the job that you've always wanted.
And if you're a politician, it can even help you get elected!
6. To overcome a personal challenge.
Writing a book can be kind of like the intellectual version of climbing Mount Everest or walking to the Pacific crest trail, a personal challenge that, once you reach the pinnacle, you'll feel was rewarding and “worth it” all on its own.
7. To leave a legacy.
Finally, writing a book can be a way to leave legacy for future generations, something that you can be remembered for long after you've passed, something that you can always be remembered for.
So what do you think? Is it worth it to you?
I can't answer that question for you. You need to decide yourself if writing a book is worth all of the hardship, challenges, and obstacles along the way (because there will be many!).
But if it is worth it and you're ready to go through with it, what's the next step? How do you take your desire to write a book and your idea and actually follow through and finish.
Ready, Prep, Write: How to Finish Your Book the Write Way
If you're wondering how to take your idea and turn it into a finished, published book, you're in luck!
Right now, I'm teaching a free, three-part class called Ready, Prep, Write on the first steps to prepare to write your book. Each lesson is only a few minutes long, but by the end, you'll be ready to get started writing.
See you inside!
Why do YOU want to write a book? Which of the above reasons is most important to you? Let us know in the comments!
For today's writing practice prompt, imagine that you've written that book that's been percolating in your brain for years. It's done. You've planned, drafted, given and taken feedback, edited, and finally ordered the first hard copy to hold in your hand. The envelope is there in your mailbox.
Take 15 minutes and write a scene where you open the envelope and see your book for the first time.
What does it look like? How does it feel? Who do you show first and why?
When you finish, share your practice in The Write Practice Workshop here (and if you're not a member yet, you can join the community here). And I hope you'll read a few other writers' dream book unboxing scene too and offer encouragement. No one can do this alone, and here, you don't have to! Let us celebrate your dream book with you!