How to Know if You Should Write a Book

We all get that urge to mentor and share knowledge from time to time. Often this happens because we're actively engaged in raising a child. What about that urge to write a book? To leave behind a piece of yourself for the world to enjoy an additional bit of information. Is there a way to know whether the commitment of time and effort is worth it? Well, yes, definitely! There are seven main questions you must ask yourself.


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    Consider whether you possess uncommon knowledge about a subject or area of expertise. Here is what former marketing executive and current U. S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn had to say about the subject: "Everyone has a transferable commodity-knowledge. Sharing your unique expertise and making introductions for someone creates a lasting legacy."
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    Ask yourself if your experience in a subject area something that you are willing to share. If the experience is painful, and telling about it might dredge up the uncomfortable past, then you will need to factor this into the decision.
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    Assess the need for your book. Is there a surfeit of information on your subject already available to the public? If so, it makes little sense to add to the clutter. However, if it is difficult for the public to learn about things that you know--and are willing to share--you have another strong reason to write that book.
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    Gauge your level of passion for books. Do you read widely? there are some people who claim to not read much at all, and they mutter something about how they might well write a book. Why? Would it not be like someone who hates golf and cannot play the game well deciding to teach golf to others? Keep this in mind: Good writers are good readers. Samuel Johnson, the great philosopher and lexicographer noted, "One must spend time in gathering knowledge to give it out richly..."
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    Consider the extent of your ability. Will you be intellectually honest? This is a question that many fail to ask, and few ever answer. If you are going to just write a diatribe, then you are adding to clutter, not knowledge. In fact, more than likely, you are writing nothing but propaganda. Do the world a favor--if that is your mental set--and do not write a book. On the other hand, if you are looking for truth, honesty and accuracy, your book will find an honorable place on bookshelves.
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    Consider how you'll promote it. Do you plan to allow your child--your book--to be an orphan? Are you going to write your tome, and then just let it sit on shelves gathering dust? Or will you promote your book, find a way to get it out to readers? A book that just sits there without readers might as well not have been written--much like a conversation spoken to a mirror.
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    . Focus on your ambition. Is the notion of writing a book a concept that just will not go away? Does it continue to nudge you? Even shake you up? Have you ever dreamt about the task? Then your subconscious mind is screaming at you to share yourself with a grateful world!


  • If you write nonfiction, fact check as if you were a crotchety newspaper editor. Inaccuracies are very embarrassing.
  • Stay true to yourself. Do not write what you think others might want to have you jot down; write what comes from your heart.
  • If you write fiction, do not tell the story--show the story.
  • Research is essential--whether it involves libraries full of books, or empirical observation.
  • Learn what voice and style are right for you--then stay consistent.
  • To write books well, one must be well read.
  • And finally, for the most part, write what you know. It might be tempting to write about rocket science, but if you do not know the difference between solid fuel and liquid propulsion, you are barking up the wrong tree--in spite of research. Use your own experience... Tell the world the things you have learned through the School of Hard Knocks.
  • Remember what Ernest Hemingway noted: "Books are not written, they are rewritten. Revise, revise, revise.
  • Study the marketplace. You do not want to write a me-too book. Write something that actually adds to knowledge and understanding.

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Categories: Writing