By Cynthia Barlow

August 15, 2018

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Why Do You Want to Write A Book?

Why write a book?

Good question. That is, if you are thinking of trying to write one.

Most folks think they have a book inside them, even if it’s buried deep. “I could write a book!” I agree; everyone I’ve ever met has a story only they can tell.

But the question is not can you write a book or is your story worth it—you can and it is—but rather why do you want to write it at all? Because let me tell you, the idea of writing a book is a whole lot sexier than planting your butt on a chair and pounding it out. And then tearing it up. Over and over. Sometimes for years.

The “delete” button is the most often hit key on a writer’s keyboard. It keeps you humble.

And it’s scary as hell. Writing. There are times you’ll want to scream. Or puke. As my coach once told me, “I’ll come hold your hair if you throw up.” Your words, forever frozen in time. Accountability in print.

I mean, really, why write a book?!

Well, there’s desire. But that alone is not enough. And if you’re seeking fame or fortune, give it up now; that’s not why writers write. Or credibility. Give that up, too, ‘cos if you don’t have your own credibility already, before you start the process, you’ll not gain anyone else’s with your finished product.

You’ve got to believe before you begin. 

Threads of Silver

I published a memoir in 2014. Wrote it in 2013 and knew exactly why I wanted to write this particular story. I had a point to make and a veritable fire in my belly. Plus it just flowed and made me laugh and so I stayed thoroughly entertained, even during the excruciating and lengthy editing process. Trust me, that particular example is not necessarily the norm.

In hindsight, had I had any hopes of a bestseller, I never would have a) started it, b) finished it or c) published it, because if you’re going to spend endless time writing the damn thing, you may as well realize how much work and time and effort and focus and patience and determination it takes to see it through to publication.

And the only thing I know that’ll get you across the finish line is a bonfire in your belly.

Because writing a book—any book (I’m currently co-authoring a book for the corporate market on Organizational Resilience)—is hard. It’s hard to stick with it long enough to turn writing—and writing well—into a dogged, daily discipline.

So you gotta’ love it. As in, lose yourself to it. Get lost in it. Forget about you and focus only on the words flowing from your fingertips. You need to feel joy running through your veins when you get one sentence to reflect perfectly what it is you’re attempting to express.

If that’s what you feel when you write, then write your book. It’s what I feel when I write. Even at this moment. It’s my reason why.

Plus, I have a thing for bonfires.

Cynthia Barlow is author of Four Fridays With Christina

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