This little article can be thought of as a corollary or addendum to my article, “The Trouble With Lying“. It applies specifically to fiction or novel writing, and somewhat less specifically to non-fiction.
In “The Trouble With Lying” I talk about the self-publishing industry and contend, among other things, that most of the people trying to self-publish their books today should not be doing so. Please don’t construe this to mean that nobody out there should be self-publishing and “chasing the dream”, which is the same dream that I am chasing (although I don’t think of it in those terms, and believe the concept of ‘chasing the dream’ is part of the problem).
In fact, I think it is extremely important that people with something special to contribute as writers take up the long struggle to get their work recognized and into reader hands. Sometimes it isn’t even a long struggle, but history indicates that it usually is.
Why should you be a writer? There are good reasons, but unfortunately they are not the reasons that motivate most of the people who are self-publishing books.
- You believe you have a rare and unusual talent for writing. That’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? If you believe you have a rare and unusual talent for writing, then that is a gift you should consider developing and sharing with the world.
- Other people, whose judgment you trust, believe you have a rare and unusual talent for writing. Perhaps you are naturally humble, or underestimate yourself, but serious people express to you that you have a special talent as a writer. If that’s the case then perhaps you should develop that talent and see what it leads to.
- Reader reaction indicates that you have a rare and unusual talent for writing. For example: you post on an Internet forum and random strangers who read the forum contact you to say they love to read your posts and ask if you have ever written a book that they can purchase to read.
- You are dissatisfied with the books currently being published and believe you can do better. You love to read and have read all your life, but you go to the bookstore and comb through the aisles and can’t find any books that meet your standard. What happened to all the good books? You believe you can do better!
- The books you want to read are not being written. If nobody else is going to write the kind of books you believe in, you’ll do it yourself!
- Writing is a compulsion for you. Creating new things with words is what you have to do, and can’t help doing. This one gets to the people who are real artists, and can’t help themselves. People like this often produce interesting and/or special work.
These are six good reasons for a person to be writing and publishing books, or trying to do so. I’m sure there are a few others, but if they are good reasons they will most likely be similar in nature to these six. Please note that not included in the list are: “I want to be a writer.” ; “It’s my dream to be a writer.” ; “I want to tell the world my story.” ; “I need to express myself!” ; “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” ; “I want to make a lot of money.” ; and “I love John Doe’s books and want to write books like that too!”