My co-worker Tiffany was so super cool and funny. She and I worked a flight together from Newark to Los Angeles and then back again for two days straight. Between serving passengers, we chatted it up about any and everything. Eventually I shared with her that when I’m not flying, I help write and edit books for other people.
“Girl, I’ve been thinking about writing this book, is that something you can help me with?”
My answer of course was yes. I then asked her one of the key questions I ask all prospective clients.
“So, tell me this, why you want to write a book?”
After hearing her response, I knew it would be a while before Tiffany was really ready to take her book idea and turned it into an actual book.
And that was perfectly okay.
I told her my opinion and gave her tips on next steps to help her decide if a book is something she really wanted to do.
Writing a book can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. But, the journey to become an author can be full of twists and turns. At times, when life starts getting in the way, it can leave you wondering why in the world did you decide to take on such a project in the first place.
That’s when your initial reasons will decide if you’ll keep going to the finish line or if it'll be another abandoned goal.
There are so many reasons to write a book. Many of those shared with me by my clients are powerful and compelling. But, I also hear some very common and not so great reasons. Here are the top 3 that should be reasons NOT to write a book:
1. Everyone says you should write one
You may have a wealth of experience, knowledge or like Tiffany, a great personality and lots of funny stories. And that’s the reason everyone thinks you should write a book - they want more. But, writing a book is very personal and you need to know YOUR reasons aside from other people’s opinions and influences. Besides, the audience of “Everyone” is not necessarily going to help you get it done, and they may not even like it once you’ve finish it. So, you need to know what YOU will get out of writing a book.
2. You want to make money
According to multiple book tracking sources, of the millions of books published each year, very few sell more than 250 copies on average. While there’s nothing wrong with planning your book to be a stream of income, reconsider writing a book solely for the sake of profit. There are much better alternatives to invest time, money and energy.
3. You think it will be fun
Yes, there will be parts of writing a book that can be a lot of fun. For me, fun is seeing my finished project and the words flowing into a thoughtful message. Coming up with clever titles and bring my personality to the page is fun. Fun is collaborating with clients on to further develop killer concepts. Not fun is when my sentences are choppy and not lining up with the ideas in my head on the first try. My eyes crossing from having read and edited the same paragraph over and over again gets tiring. Writing then becomes work that requires me to think harder, dig deeper or take a break when I’m on a deadline. The breaks can be fun sometimes though.
What others think, the possibility of financial gain and just having fun may get you started, reasons that are connected to a greater commitment is what's going to get you finished.
So, if any of the top 3 reasons sound familiar, don't scrap the idea of a book just yet. Instead, start with digging deeper into all of your reasons BEFORE you begin to write.
Want to know the steps for furthering develop your reason(s) for writing a book? Go to wwww.wordsmithwonder.com and request your free copy of “Finally Getting Your Book Done: A 5-Step Guide for Finding the Focus, Time and Clarity”
Alicia N. Ingram is a passionate, hard-nosed book editor, ghostwriter and writing coach who believes well-told stories can transform hearts and minds. This belief fuels her work to help aspiring authors start AND finish the books.