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Should You Write a Book? Maybe Not – Here’s Why

POSTED ON Dec 2, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Business, Learning > Should You Write a Book? Maybe Not – Here’s Why

Many people ask themselves, “Should I write a book?” The answer may not be as straightforward as you think. In fact, according to the New York Times, 81% of people believe they have a book in them. 

However, statistics state that only 3% of writers who start writing actually complete their manuscript.

Those are some pretty staggering numbers. So, ask yourself again, “Should I write a book?” In this article, I walk you through six specific questions to help you identify the answer.


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Is writing a book a good idea?

Yes, writing a book is a great idea for numerous reasons. Whether you want to share your story, make passive income, or simply fulfill your bucket list dream of becoming an author, writing a book is a good idea. 

That said, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t write a book.

Before answering, should I write a book, it’s crucial to think through the various aspects writing entails. 

How do I know if I shouldn’t write a book?

Before we go any further, let's get these out of the way. The following six questions will help you identify if you should or shouldn’t write a book. If you answer “no” to any of them, you may want to spend a bit more time thinking about your idea and the motivation for asking yourself the question, “should I write a book?”

Are you willing to commit to at least 1 hour per day writing?

Non-writers often idealize the writing process. While writing can be extremely enjoyable, the truth is, it’s a lot of hard work. First, you must settle on an idea that can fill anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000 words. 

Then, you have to learn how to write a book, aka, the writing craft.

Next, you have to ask, can I write a book? Writing involves actually sitting down to write. 

When you ask, should I write a book, largely focus on if you are willing to spend time actually writing. If an hour doesn’t sound doable, or enjoyable, right now, writing a book is probably not for you.

Do you have other motives – other than the money?

Every business incurs costs. In order to gain royalties, there is a cost to publish your book. But that said, writing is an extremely vulnerable endeavor. Whether you work with a book writing coach to develop relatable characters or share lessons through nonfiction, writing demands vulnerability. 

If you only want to write a book to make money, you should probably consider other avenues.

By nature, writing involves putting the reader first. If you are only in it for the money, it will be difficult to truly think reader-first.

Does this feel like something you MUST do?

We all have various life stages that demand more attention than others. For instance if you are a new parent, caring for your own parents, or in graduate school, writing a book may not be your first priority right now. 

Answering, should I write a book, starts with identifying if it’s truly a priority. If it’s not, that doesn’t mean it never will be. But, it’s best not to pursue writing a book until you can dedicate the appropriate time to doing so. 

Are you ready to face the emotions that come up during the writing process?

Different writing styles demand different levels of emotion. If you want to write your memoir or autobiography, be aware that the process will bring up many emotions. 

Sharing your life story, lessons you learned, or difficult parts of your past always bring up emotions. Writing can remind you of special times in your life, but if you aren’t prepared for the more difficult emotions, you may want to hold off.

Are you writing with the intention of helping or entertaining others?

Remember, the number one rule of writing a book is to put your reader first. If you choose to write in order to get your story out to heal, consider other forms of writing. In fact, specific ways of journaling are a science-supported way to improve mental health.

For example, while writing your memoir can help you heal, there are dos and don’ts of memoir writing. Your memoir’s main goal should be to inspire or teach others. 

Do you have a clear idea, story arc, theme, or idea?

Now this one isn't a deal breaker. But if you want to be a successful fiction author and you start writing without a clear story arc, it’s likely that you will meander off into prose that doesn’t move your story forward.

Some writers are “pantsers,” meaning they write as the story comes to them. Other writers prefer to plot their story. Regardless of which camp you fall into, a clear story arc is crucial for your success. You don’t need to know every detail, but be clear on a few points before diving in. If you don't have clarity on these yet, spend a bit extra time on the mind mapping and outlining steps of writing a novel before you dive into your rough draft.

For nonfiction writers, the same fact applies. For instance, consider the bestseller, Rich Dad Poor Dad. This book clearly walks readers through an arc: starting with little financial awareness, to growing in knowledge, to finally walking away equipped to make smart financial decisions. 

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Should I write a book? Final considerations

At the end of the day, only you can answer the question, “should I write a book?” But even if you've answered “no” to one or more of the questions above, it still might be right for you.

Do any of these resonate?

You have something to add to the current information 

If you are an expert in a particular field or have something new to say on a topic, it may be time to add your voice to what’s out there. Remember the book I mentioned above, Rich Dad Poor Dad

There are countless books on finance and personal development, but Robert Kiyosaki took a new angle. His book resonated with so many readers that it’s ranked the #1 personal finance book of all time.

You already write but have more to say

Similarly, if you already share information on your writer’s website, it may be time to expand. A blog can only hold so much information.

Do you find yourself writing long form blog posts? Maybe you continue to write blog series but still have more information to share. If you feel you run out of space, it may be time to expand to a book.

You can’t let the idea go

Maybe you have an idea you just can’t get out of your head. You jot down thoughts as you stand in line at the grocery store. You stay up thinking about it. Perhaps colleagues have said audiences would benefit from hearing your story. 

If you just can’t ignore the question, should I write a book, it may be time to take your next step.

Ask a professional if you should write a book

It doesn't matter if you are thinking about writing fiction or nonfiction. If you are still on the fence asking, should I write a book, why not get on the phone with a member of our team to help you find the answer?

Here at selfpublishing.com, we are dedicated to helping you decide if you have a bestselling story inside you and if now is the right time to share it with the world. And our free discovery calls are the perfect place to ask questions and find answers!

Our team will discuss your book idea with you, provide insight on genres, and help you decide if it’s time to write a book.

You can schedule your call now by filling out the short form below. We look forward to chatting with you! 


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