It’s not only possible, but it has some surprising benefits.
I’ve heard it said that eight out of every 10 people would like to write a book. Judging by the websites, resources, podcasts, and conferences devoted to writing, that seems about right. There is a lot of information on the “how” of writing a book. But the more important question is the “why.”
As I’ve examined successful authors and considered my own motives, I’ve concluded there are seven primary reasons to write a book. All of these have held true in the process of writing both of my books, The Artist’s Suitcase: 26 Essentials for the Creative Journey and 30 Days of Evernote for Churches.
Even if you don’t think you can write a book, don’t dismiss the idea out of hand. You are capable of more than you think. I hope these seven reasons will convince you that it’s not only possible, it’s a really great idea.
The first three reasons focus on what the writing process will do for you, and the final four focus on how a book can impact others.
1. Writing a book stretches you.
Writing a book, like any other major goal, stretches you in ways you haven’t experienced before. You have to push past the obstacles of self-doubt, procrastination, and perfectionism. The writing process helps you develop new habits and use your creative powers in new ways.
2. Writing a book helps you clarify your thinking.
It’s one thing to talk about a topic. It’s quite another to write about it. Whether you are writing a guide to Evernote, a devotional for teens, or historical fiction, you are forced to be specific and concrete when you write. You don’t truly know what you think about a topic until you write about it.
3. Writing a book boosts your confidence.
Writing a book may seem like an impossible goal. How could you possibly write a book, especially considering your current commitments and schedule? The secret is that you write one sentence at a time until you have a whole book. That process of digging in, doing the hard work, and then seeing the finished result is incredibly gratifying. When you achieve a big goal, you get a huge boost of confidence that allows you to push yoursef even further.
4. A book helps establish your authority.
Many people talk about writing a book, but a small percentage actually do it. When you write a book and put it out there for others to read, you are automatically perceived as an authority on that topic (assuming that the book is good). There is no quicker way to establish your credibility within a niche than writing a book (even if it’s a short eBook).
5. A book can expand your audience.
If you market your book strategically and take advantage of your connections, you can greatly expand your audience. A book will go places you cannot go and reach people you’ve never heard of (and people who have never heard of you). If your book is on Amazon, you are making it available to over 200 million potential readers. That’s quite a reach by anyone’s standards!
6. A book can bring you income.
Many authors mistakenly believe that if they just write a book and make it available for purchase, they will become rich overnight. That almost never happens. The most successful authors usually combine writing with online courses, speaking, consulting, coaching, and other types of services or products.
While you definitely can make income from book sales, I prefer to think of a book as a launching pad for other types of income-producing activities. (All that being said, there are authors such as Steve Scott who have done very well by focusing just on Amazon sales.)
7. A book will outlive you.
One hundred years from now, what will people remember about you? Aside from your family, what impact will you have made in the larger world?
One of the best ways to ensure a lasting legacy is by writing a book. This doesn’t mean that your book will be read by millions of people. Each year, 600,000 to 1,000,000 books are published in the U.S., so the chances of yours being a best-seller are pretty slim.
But if you take the focus off the numbers and instead focus on quality and adding your unique perspective to the world, it’s apparent that a book is a great way to get your ideas out there. If we assume that every book ever published will be available to future generations, there is enormous potential for the difference you can make.
In addition, how will your great-grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, really know what you were like? How will they know about your hopes, dreams, failures, and aspirations? Sure, you can post your thoughts on social media and create YouTube videos all day, but will all of that be around in an accessible form a hundred years from now? Unlikely. But books in some form will always be around.
Bottom line: Writing a book is a big undertaking, but totally worth the effort. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, I hope these seven reason will move you further along your writing journey.
Have you thought about writing a book but haven’t taken the plunge? What’s stopping you?
This article originally appeared on KentSanders.net
Photo: Flickr /San José Library
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