We’ve curated our best editorial secrets and industry insights into a series of articles. They range from getting started through staying on track and grasping the publishing business. Put those fuzzy slippers on your feet, pull up a cushy armchair, and enjoy.

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The Five Reasons to Write a Book

There are always five reasons to write a book. To help the world may be on the list, but chances are it isn’t number one.

I know at least one author for whom helping the world really is number one on his list. For the rest of us mixed-up mortals, contemplating our five reasons is a healthy exercise.



Here are my five reasons for writing the book Finish Your Book in Three Drafts: How to Write a Book, Revise a Book, and Complete a Book While You Still Love It. Forgive me if any of the following sounds immodest or crazy. I feel comfortable opening myself up to you:

  1. Because there are writers out there who really care about what I have to say. (They told me. They capitalized “WE CARE.”)
  2. Marketing my business. (Need some help?)
  3. Exercising my genius. (With a little “g”—don’t get excited. We all have one; substitute “higher self” or “voice” if you’d like.)
  4. To have fun. (Finally.)
  5. Because it belongs to the grand unfolding plan of my life. (Now how do you know that?)

What are your five reasons for writing the book you’re writing now? I’m not asking what are the five reasons you’re not writing your book right now—that’s a different article. And don’t give me five bad reasons, either. “So my parents will finally understand,” and “as a way of escaping my present life” are two that I had to grow out of, for example.

I asked my friend Windy about her five and she gave some great ones: Writing a book gave her an excuse to travel; she wanted to see if she could do it; and my favorite one: “I want to follow the idea that was sparked that day at the museum.”

Write them down and keep them close for the times when you lose your momentum. You don’t need all five for every writing session—one will do. I just think it’s important to have some idea why you’re doing what you’re doing. I guess that goes for life in general. It can be useful in case you encounter obstacles, rejection, or misunderstanding. Why am I doing this again?

Five good ones total so you’ll know for sure—in this very subjective, relative endeavor—whether what you’ve done is as good as it gets.