Not everyone would agree with me about this, but let me just put it out there: everyone who desires to write a book should write a book.

  • Not just those with big platforms.
  • Not just those who are trained as writers
  • Not just those who “have something to say” (we all have something to say)
  • Not just celebrities or famous people

Everyone. I truly think everyone who desires to write a book should write a book.


I was reminded of my conviction on this topic a few days ago when I was talking to a friend who has always wanted to write a book. Her husband has been published and she shares a love for books but when I asked her to tell me a little bit about what was stopping her from writing a book, she gave a familiar list of excuses.

“There are so many writers out there who are better at this than me. Why would I waste my time writing when they can produce something so much better?”

“Speaking of time—who has time to write a book?”

“I don’t have a platform or a following or even a blog.

“A publisher would never pick me up. I don’t have an agent.”

“I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

Part of the reason these excuses are so familiar to me is because I work with writers on a daily basis—most of whom are far more talented and qualified than they ever give themselves credit for—and they might as well record these excuses and play them on repeat for me. I hear the same thing, over and over again, day after day.

But there’s another reason why these excuses feel so familiar to me.

Because they are my same excuses.

I’ve written four books with my name on them, and a few more for other people. I’ve had a publishing contract. I’ve walked a least a dozen writers through the process of drafting and editing a manuscript. I have a blog and “platform” and a few people who follow me regularly. I get a fair number of emails from people thanking me for my writing.

And still, seven out of ten days I wake up thinking:

“Am I sure I’m really making a difference? This is hard! Is it really worth it? Do I have time for this? Will I ever make any money doing this? Do I need an agent? Do I need a publisher? Am I a good writer? What do I have to say? Where should I even start?”

This only reinforces my belief: everyone who desires to write a book should do it.

Writing a book is not easy. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And while the logistics of it get easier each time I attempt it—I understand the process, know what to expect, have some strategies to help me—the weight of it hasn’t changed. It’s emotionally and spiritually challenging and engaging.

And yet, just like any difficult thing in my life—marriage, friendship, work—it is changing me, slowly, transforming me, growing me and maturing me into the best version of myself.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Think for a minute about the other difficult things we do in our life. Marriage is a great example. If you told me you desired to get married someday, I would never tell you:

“Oh, no, marriage is only for the really qualified and prepared people. Also, it’s never going to make you any money, and it’s going to take up all your free time. And, to top it off, there are thousands of other people out there doing marriage way better than you could ever dream to do it, so you should probably just skip it.”

Instead, I would tell you—if you desire to get married someday—go for it!

I would warn you that marriage can be challenging and might even encourage you to start investing in your understanding of it. Go to therapy, read books, practice dealing with conflict in your current relationships.

But then I would tell you to buckle up and get ready to enjoy the ride. Marriage, like book writing, is not for the elite few.

It’s for everyone.

So who cares if you never get published or if it’s the worst book ever written. Everybody’s first book is their worst book. And the sooner your get your worst book out of the way, the sooner you can get to your next one.

Who cares if you’re qualified or endorsed or followed.

Who cares about a publisher or an agent or a platform.

Honestly, that stuff is the easy part. It’s the writing that’s the hard part. If you build it [write it, same thing] they will come.”

And even better than that, in the midst of all of this, if you choose to abandon your excuses and get started writing, you’ll find something far more valuable than the most profound book ever written. You’ll find yourself on the page—that beautiful voice and brilliant person you knew was there all along.

9 comments on “Everyone Should Write A Book

  1. Indeed. Some wait until they’ve signed a book contract before actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Perhaps that makes sense if you’re in it for the money.

    Otherwise, write a book because it’s inside of you — it’s a story that needs to be told, a story you need to discover. I’ve done it twice now, and both books have taught me so much about myself. If they never get published, that’s okay.

    Paul Perkins

  2. Thanks for this perspective, Allison. I am in the process of writing my first book, and shoving aside the excuses every day is hard. Posts like this remind me to keep going, so thank you.

    I also love this Emily Freeman quote and hope it is as encouraging to you and your readers as it has been to me…

    “You may not be the first to say it, write it, create it, or believe it–but you saying it may be the first time someone finally hears. Yes, someone else can say it better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t say it too. Throw out your inhibitions and spin around in this crazy world of recycled ideas. There is nothing new to say. Say it anyway.” {A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live}

  3. Amazing! Thank you 🙂 I am always looking for excuses to not start something because I’m worried I don’t really have what it takes, writing included!

  4. I believe we all have a story to share, but not everyone wants to write it out. Share it however you’d like–in photos, a podcast, a video, whatever you’d like. The key is to share your story.

  5. Great post! I would really like to write a book. And I just read your book, Packing Light, and feel as though it is one more cobblestone in the path I travel to spur me on! Thank you!

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