If you’ve ever cautiously asked yourself, “SHOULD I WRITE A BOOK?” then this post is undoubtedly for you.
Because I am here, in all my notorious and magnanimous wisdom to say: YES YES YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK. It’s so fun and glorious and basically the greatest thing in the universe and —
Ohhhhh. Oh. I see you DOUBTING me here. I see it in your eyes. Well. Since I’m feeling especially gracious today, I’ll write a list of reasons why you should throw caution to the wind and snabble up pen and paper.* You might be surprised at all the benefits writing gives you. I mean, there are drawbacks like mild insanity, spontaneous combustion, and developing eccentric behaviours like needing to write in a tree on Wednesdays wearing blue toe-socks in order to find your muse** — but the benefits OUTWEIGH THESE MINOR DETAILS. I promise.
Also I helpfully wrote a post similar to this one but on why you should start a book blog. I suggest doing both, by the way, with all your free time.
* Or, you know, you could use a laptop since we no longer live in the 19th century. But if you want to go for the authentic feel of hand cramps and paper cuts, by all means — get a pen and paper.
** Clearly I’m not speaking from experience. Or am I????
YOU GET TO TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE A WRITER, AND SOMETIMES THIS (WEIRDLY) IMPRESSES THEM AND THEY THINK YOU’RE A LITERARY GENIUS.
Never deny accusations of “literary genius”. I am just saying this now. Even if your manuscript is 94% just slamming your hand on the keyboard because you have no idea what you’re doing…the trick is to pretend. Scribble a lot. Use colourful highlighters and big words. The “genius” part will follow eventually. And if it doesn’t, just wait till you die. Everyone appreciates authors after they’re dead.
IT CAN BE A HANDY TOOL TO SURVIVE SMALL TALK AND CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.
Say you’re stuck in an awkward situation where people are talking of the small cyclones and small taxes and small mushrooms (I assume “small” talk has to do with the height of the topics) — you can always bust out with “I’M A WRITER” to keep the conversation interesting.
Human: It looks like rain.
You: That is really interesting, my friend, because it does look like rain. Look at you deducing and being smart like that. Rain! Amazing! I remember one time in Guadeloupe when it rained. Also, I am a writer.
Human: How does that relate to the weather?
You: Rain is a metaphor of my tears as I rewrite my latest chapter.
See that? A very smooth transition to make a conversation interesting. And gives depth to the conversation that clearly everyone wants.
Not that you should hide your weirdness. NO NO! EMBRACE IT. If people are giving you THE LOOK (which is usually interpreted as “what even the heck, you melon”) because you’re (A) driving across 9 continents to get your favourite snack, (B) baking cupcakes at midnight, (C) buying an odd hat, or (D) hoarding teapot cosies ——- you can just shout “IT’S FOR A BOOK I’M WRITING”. They’ll leave you alone.
No one messes with eccentric writers.
WHEN YOU WRITE, YOU CAN BE ANYTHING AND DO ANYTHING YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE AND IT’S VERY FUN.
Sometimes one’s life doesn’t allow certain things. Dragon riding for instance. Stealing the Eiffel Tower. Becoming queen. And my mother said no to living solely on cake so apparently I can’t do that either. BUT! If you want to still live these things — write about them.
You can live a thousand lives while writing. You can do anything you want. And people suddenly call it art! Whereas you really were just craving cake and wrote a book about it. EMBRACE THE FREEDOM AND ADVENTURE THAT COMES WITH WRITING.
IT ALSO GIVES YOU A GRAND EXCUSE TO READ A ZILLION BOOKS. BECAUSE IT’S NOW “RESEARCH”.
Not that you need excuses to buy those 938 books…but in case you feel one would be handy and dandy…writing is the answer! All those hours spent buried under a bookshelf can now be considered working.
IF PEOPLE ARE MEAN TO YOU, THREATEN TO WRITE BADLY ABOUT THEM IN YOUR MEMOIR.
Because memoirs come eventually. And who wants to be immortalised as THAT annoying friend or THAT persnickety sibling? Hmm?? This will get all your friends and family into shape and have them treating you like royalty in order to save face in your future NYT bestselling memoir.
It could also be good blackmail and leverage material. There are so many options.
IF YOU PUBLISH YOU NOW HAVE INFINITE AND EASY BIRTHDAY/CHRISTMAS PRESENTS TO GIVE OUT FOREVER.
Oh you already gave Cousin Frank your book for his last birthday? GIVE HIM ANOTHER. It’s not like anyone can argue when you’re gifting them a piece of your soul. (Yes, you get to say fun stuff like “this book is made with blood, sweat, tears, and written to the throbbing beat of my heart” when you’re a writer.) Gifting has just become easy and painless.
YOU GET TO BE PART OF AN ENORMOUSLY SLIGHTLY PSYCHOTIC WRITING FAMILY.
Because as soon as you timidly shriek “I’M A WRITER!” then you have hordes of insta-friends. Every emotion that writing inflicts upon you — you will find practically mountains of other writers experiencing the same things. They will cry with you. They will laugh with you. They will instruct you to buy chocolate. They will help. Even if it’s just a kind word or an encouraging ALL-CAPS HOLLERING CONGRATS when you reach a milestone.
It’s like being adopted into a family of eccentric, abnormal, slightly disturbing artists — who will talk about blue glitter paint and 1800s torture devices in one sentence.
THERE IS A CHANCE YOU COULD BE FAMOUS.
There are lots of ways to be famous. You could get famous for eating a lot of cake, I suppose, or successfully growing potatoes on the moon. BUT. There is a possibility you are a writing genius and if you don’t write a book, how will you find out?!?
NOT TO MENTION HOW MUCH YOU LEARN FROM WRITING, HOW IT MAKES YOU A MORE PERCEIVING PERSON, AND HELPS YOU GROW TALLER.
I am nearly entirely sure that being a writer has helped me appreciate more of life’s dilemmas and issues. Like equality! And feminism! And rights for small children and also dragons! (Enough with “let’s slay the dragons”. Just, omg, just stop. Dragons have feelings too.) Writing makes me want to learn more about ALL THE THINGS and research ALL THE THINGS. (Like now I know how much it’d cost in 1892 to travel the Oregon Trail. What?! Some of us get curious. FYI you need to take a lot of salted pork.) It’s given me buckets of useless knowledge that I’m endlessly pleased with.
And it also helps me grow taller, because if I printed out all the research I’ve done and stood on top of it — I would be the height of a normal person and not the hobbit that I am.