Not everyone would agree with me about this, but let me just put it out there: everyone who desires to write a book should write a book.
- Not just those with big platforms.
- Not just those who are trained as writers
- Not just those who “have something to say” (we all have something to say)
- Not just celebrities or famous people
Everyone. I truly think everyone who desires to write a book should write a book.
I was reminded of my conviction on this topic a few days ago when I was talking to a friend who has always wanted to write a book. Her husband has been published and she shares a love for books but when I asked her to tell me a little bit about what was stopping her from writing a book, she gave a familiar list of excuses.
“There are so many writers out there who are better at this than me. Why would I waste my time writing when they can produce something so much better?”
“Speaking of time—who has time to write a book?”
“I don’t have a platform or a following or even a blog.
“A publisher would never pick me up. I don’t have an agent.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
Part of the reason these excuses are so familiar to me is because I work with writers on a daily basis—most of whom are far more talented and qualified than they ever give themselves credit for—and they might as well record these excuses and play them on repeat for me. I hear the same thing, over and over again, day after day.
But there’s another reason why these excuses feel so familiar to me.
Because they are my same excuses.
I’ve written four books with my name on them, and a few more for other people. I’ve had a publishing contract. I’ve walked a least a dozen writers through the process of drafting and editing a manuscript. I have a blog and “platform” and a few people who follow me regularly. I get a fair number of emails from people thanking me for my writing.
And still, seven out of ten days I wake up thinking:
“Am I sure I’m really making a difference? This is hard! Is it really worth it? Do I have time for this? Will I ever make any money doing this? Do I need an agent? Do I need a publisher? Am I a good writer? What do I have to say? Where should I even start?”
This only reinforces my belief: everyone who desires to write a book should do it.
Writing a book is not easy. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And while the logistics of it get easier each time I attempt it—I understand the process, know what to expect, have some strategies to help me—the weight of it hasn’t changed. It’s emotionally and spiritually challenging and engaging.
And yet, just like any difficult thing in my life—marriage, friendship, work—it is changing me, slowly, transforming me, growing me and maturing me into the best version of myself.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Think for a minute about the other difficult things we do in our life. Marriage is a great example. If you told me you desired to get married someday, I would never tell you:
“Oh, no, marriage is only for the really qualified and prepared people. Also, it’s never going to make you any money, and it’s going to take up all your free time. And, to top it off, there are thousands of other people out there doing marriage way better than you could ever dream to do it, so you should probably just skip it.”
Instead, I would tell you—if you desire to get married someday—go for it!
I would warn you that marriage can be challenging and might even encourage you to start investing in your understanding of it. Go to therapy, read books, practice dealing with conflict in your current relationships.
But then I would tell you to buckle up and get ready to enjoy the ride. Marriage, like book writing, is not for the elite few.
It’s for everyone.
So who cares if you never get published or if it’s the worst book ever written. Everybody’s first book is their worst book. And the sooner your get your worst book out of the way, the sooner you can get to your next one.
Who cares if you’re qualified or endorsed or followed.
Who cares about a publisher or an agent or a platform.
Honestly, that stuff is the easy part. It’s the writing that’s the hard part. If you build it [write it, same thing] they will come.”
And even better than that, in the midst of all of this, if you choose to abandon your excuses and get started writing, you’ll find something far more valuable than the most profound book ever written. You’ll find yourself on the page—that beautiful voice and brilliant person you knew was there all along.