Friday 30 September 2011

Should Everyone Write a Book?

“Everyone who wants to write a book should do it.” - The very idea brings knee-jerk reactions of horror from many. But if you suggested “everyone who wants to paint a picture should do it”, you would receive a much more forgiving response.

Is that because a painter is asking for only a few seconds of their audience’s time to appreciate their work – a few seconds that could also be combined with being in company or simply day dreaming - whereas a book might expect them to spend several hours of mental effort in its exclusive company?

But just because a book has been written doesn’t mean you have to read it unless you truly want to.

“But now every book can be self-published, so there is just too much stuff out there.”

Well yes, there is too much for anyone to ever hope to read more than a tiny percentage of the books that they might potentially enjoy. But returning to the artist/writer analogy; self publishing a book is really just like putting a frame around a painting, merely a practical way of making it easier for your audience to access your work should they wish to.

If only one person ever read your book and enjoyed it – or maybe if you simply enjoyed writing it – wouldn’t that be justification enough for doing it? Even if you fear that your writings seem mundane now, that doesn’t mean they will seem that way to anyone who might come across them in fifty or a hundred years time. Then your book may be providing a fascinating glimpse into the past, just as a painting produced today might make the perfect decoration for a house in the twenty second century.

1 comment:

David Stewart said...

Exactly my thoughts. I'm about to start the 'Write A Novel In A Month' challenge, detailed in the book "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty. I have absolutely no idea what the novel is going to be about nor do I expect it to publishable but it will be a novel nonethelesss.

1,666 words a day. That's 50,000 words. Equivalent in words to 'Of Mice and Men' or 'Far From The Madding Crowd'.