I just received a lovely note from a new author named Sandy. She is struggling to finish her first book. But even when it is out there, Sandy says, she has no idea how it will be received—or even if it will be received. So her question is: “What are the advantages of writing besides the possibility of striking it rich?”
Good question, Sandy! I don’t think there is one of us out here in author-land who had not asked the very same thing. And because it is so important a question, I am taking a break from the rush to my upcoming book due date to try to give you some answers.
First of all, if you are writing with the hope that you may “strike it rich,” please do everyone a favor and stop now. I have seen 40 of my books published, and I have never yet struck it rich. In fact, I only know one author who did. Most likely, it will not happen. Receive modest royalty payments, yes. But get rich? Unh-uh!
Why, then, do writers write? Here are some of my reasons. Perhaps other writers will add reasons of their own:
- I love to learn. I always say I learn ten times as much as ever gets into a book. Not only will it make you a killer trivia player, but it will make you an even more knowledgeable and interesting person.
- It opens up a whole new world. Literally, in my case. Before I started writing, I knew almost nothing about the world. But my last 10 or 15 books have all been about the Global Community, and this has allowed me to travel. I learned more than any textbook could ever have taught. And the friends I have made! From India to the Congo, from Israel to Algeria, from Egypt to Ireland– and on and on.
- I appreciate the discipline writing teaches. Discipline such as meeting deadlines and fitting in with page counts and minding authors’ guidelines and so forth and keeping on until the job is done.
- Writing allows us to make our thoughts and passions known. It’s what I am doing right now. Look at my website ( www.kaystrom.com ) and you will see what I mean: I am a 21st Century Abolitionist.
- There is always the chance that I will write a big hit. Maybe this is the book that will be made into a movie, and George Clooney will star in it, and… and… Well, it could happen!
- Mostly, though, I write because I cannot not write. If you can take writing or leave it, then better to leave it and do something else.
So what do you think, Sandy? Are you a writer? If so, write on!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”