Jack Harmer Blog

9 reasons to Write Your Own Book or Story 

Or why Would Anyone Want to Write Books and Stories Anyway?

Every time I see or hear that question asked, I have to shake my head. The answer is so obvious. To me at least.

Story telling is a part of us. Something we are all born able to do. Even before we learn to speak, let alone learn how to write anything down. I love listening to others tell little stories and jokes. It makes people laugh. Be a bit happier for a time. Look at the word we use for recording the events of our past.

History.  His Story. Or Her story in our time of equal opportunity and non-sexist language.

Think of the baby at its mother’s breast. How did it manage to tell it’s mother that it was hungry? By the sound of it’s cry. Or the toddler crying and holding a hand over it’s ear? Wordlessly telling an adult that is has an ear-ache. And the surly teen who slams the door of their bedroom when they are denied something they simply “have to have”?  I experienced my teen years just like you did. Looking back, I have no idea how my parents put up with my nonsense.

People will develop their own goal to write a book at different times in their lives. For widely different reasons.  Anne Frank wrote her diary to record a time of her young life that she never wanted to forget. As a record of events that should never have happened. When I look at what I’ve written down in my diary over the years I can see a progression of sorts. from absolute trash to something that, on a good day, might be regarded by some as approaching sense.

While motivated by different things, there are some common reasons why people want to create their own stories and write their own books. Helen Keller, the American writer and activist became both deaf and blind before her second birthday. Yet her strength of will was so great that she dictated her homework while she was at school and went on to create her books in the same way. My own stories started out as little better than school essays but as I persisted, and learned how to include the multitude of things that a well written story must possess.

Many of us limit our story-telling to telling jokes. Which doesn’t matter because a joke is still a very short story.  So, too is an advertisement. Consider this one. That appeared in a local newspaper a lot of years back. I just hooted with laughter when I read it.

For Sale

Two single beds. One hardly used.

Will exchange for pram.

So why does anyone want to write books and stories anyway? In spite of the monumental effort usually needed to create them? I’ve come up with a list of nine different reasons why a person might want to write their own book.

To tell a story in their own words

Every person has a story to tell, whether that story is a personal recollection, a poem, a play or screenplay. Even the simple joke that I mentioned earlier. Each has a different way of telling their a story. In the times of Anne Frank and Helen Keller, writing an book and getting it published was a monumental task. Even before any attempt was ever made to market it. One way or another these two literary icons managed to get it done. And created their own unique places in history by doing so. Through their story or book, they were able to tell their story to people. And did so while using their unique voice and perspective.

Being able to write gives you and people just like you the opportunity to tell their own story and share it to anyone who is willing to read through the pages. With these stories, anyone can share their unique thoughts and insights on just about anything.

To express their creative skill

It takes a lot of creativity and skill to craft a great book or story. Certainly on of my motivations. Yet not every story or book is destined to become a masterpiece. What is referred to today as mainstream fiction is often poorly written. Yet it receives great acclaim because it appeals to a vast audience. Which was likely the aim of the author when they wrote it. However, whether you have plans to get published or not, creating a book or publishing a story is still an awesome outlet to express your skills in writing.

Creating your own book or stories is one way for the world to see your talents, to express yourself through writing. People from all walks of life, regardless of their backgrounds, have shared their unique perspectives of the world through their writing. There are over 12,000 different genres or subgenres of books that anyone can choose to write. By genre, all I mean is the category of the book. By publishing your book or story, you get to have that same opportunity.

To share their particular perspective or expertise

Another of my motivators.  One that played a huge role in my working career. Aside from having different perspectives, people also have different fields of expertise. As the old nursery rhyme tells us, some are Soldiers, sailors, Tinkers, and Tailors. Some are rich, others poor, while some are beggars and others are thieves. These unique experiences that individuals of all stripes and traits have and experience are what makes each person unique from another. Just as unique is how one person might be compared to another in the way they express themselves through writing. Some people are motivated to publish stories and/or books so they can share their experiences. Others are inspired to write a book to teach others a skill. Or to demonstrate how to crate or repair an item.

For example, an expert in a particular field can deliver his knowledge and experience via a book. They can also publish stories or articles to share their knowledge to a specific audience.

To provide entertainment

I love to listen to and re-tell funny and interesting stories. It’s part of who I am. Some might call the re-telling of interesting anecdotes gossip. And it may well be. Many people view reading books and stories as a form of entertainment. Regardless of the form of media used or the style of delivery, reading never goes out of style. Books and stories can provide a source of high-quality entertainment (and education). Today, we can listen to an audio-book, although how listening constitutes reading is something I’ll leave to the experts to argue over. Others of us like to write poetry, thus demonstrating a particular dexterity with words. Others write playa or screenplays intended for actors to interpret and perform according to the script.

A great book or story can keep a person engaged for hours, and the ability to do that can make a writer stand out from the rest. It may not be their main aim all the time, but people write books and stories to entertain readers.

To make money

Let us be real about this: one reason why people write books and stories is because they want and need to make money. Some of us succeed in their aim. A larger majority don’t. Success or failure is not something the author has any control over. Other people either like our stories or they don’t. Its like beauty. In the eye of the beholder.  That is entirely at the whim of the reading public. Acclaimed author Elmore Leonard wrote and published stories for over 30 years before he finally wrote one that appealed to the reading public and became a best-seller in its genre. A lot of writers see what they do as a profession, and they make real money out of their craft. Others use their written work as a platform to promote their other pursuits.

The rates in which they earn can vary, depending on factors such as the popularity of their work and the medium in which their works are published. However, it is safe to say that writers do earn when they write books and stories, and that can be a real motivating factor for writing.

To promote one’s exploits

Books and stories nowadays are not just being written for the sake of being written. Some can have a promotional angle that can point towards a much larger cause. Here, I’m thinking of the vast amount of spinoff books and the like that are produced to take advantage of a successful movie or play. Others are written to take advantage of some other form of fame or notoriety. For example, some celebrities and other big-name personalities create books as a means to self-promote and increase their profile. Or to record their exploits and hopefully add to their retirement funds.

It can also be a means to show their own story, with the targeted outcome of better appreciation for what they do. Many entertainers and sporting personalities who are actively involved in some different arena than their more public one will have a book written about that other activity to help raise funds for it. Yet others create books to promote their own spinoff products and services, whether directly or indirectly. Books and stories can be powerful promotional tools if created and used properly.

To influence or inspire people Or to change an opinion…Maybe

A book can be targeted to a general audience or to a very specific crowd. I once read autobiographies about two tennis players. John McEnroe and Andre Agassi. I knew all about their sporting prowess and antics. Nothing about the men they were. By the time I had finished reading both books I had a different opinion about both men. about the problems they faced while playing tennis. About what they had each put back into their sport and their communities.

More than that even a book written to be read and enjoyed by a somewhat limited group of readers can become a best-seller if it is promoted by reader referrals. For any number of reasons, books can contain a message so powerful that it can influence the people who will eventually read it. It may seem like a thing that is too noble, but a lot of people do write their books with the aim to influence and inspire people. The book titled The Go Giver by Bob Burg and David John Mann is one that was referred o me by someone I have never met. Yet it is a book that completely revolutionized my thinking.

It can be via sharing or allowing to be shared the things they themselves have learned and experienced, and providing insight on different aspects of life generally or their own in particular. It can also be that the story itself was so inspiring that it managed to influence people even unintentionally. A book or story can be a powerful tool to inspire and influence. Two such books are biographies. The first,  A Man Called Peter is the story of a Scottish born pastor who became a household name after he was elected Chaplain of the US Senate. The other is the story of Edmund Hillary, New Zealand bee-keeper who was the first man to ever climb Mount Everest. A man who went on to help build schools and hospitals in the Himalayas.

To challenge one’s self

all I had was an idea. To write a boo. about what i didn’t have the first clue. Even less about what to put where in it. My first attempts earned and were given the Order of the Delete Button. But I persisted. Studied other authors. Saw what they wrote and where things were placed to form a logical narrative.

No  author is born writing best sellers. Any more that John McEnroe or Andre Agassi were born the day before they won Grand Slams. Creating your own book represents a unique challenge for anyone. For some it is a labour of love. For others it satisfies a passion or drive within them. For yet others it is something that just has to be done. A rite of passage so to speak. Whether you are a seasoned writer or someone who has no experience in writing stuff, publishing your own story or book is a formidable challenge. Or it would be if one of the driving forces or some other was not urging you forward. It will take a lot of work hours to produce a book. Beginning with conceptualizing it to  planning it, plotting it, writing it, proofreading it. Then to the actual publishing.

Many writers will say publishing your book will push you beyond your comfort zone. They will be right. Having your book safely hidden on your hard drive keeps you safe from prying eyes and criticism. Publishing it exposes your hard work, imagination, and dreams to public gaze. It leaves you exposed under the spotlight, so to speak. However, once the book is completed, whether it is successful or a failure it is quite an accomplishment. Not just for the writer, but also for his/her entire support team. Even more so if it ends up selling well, and wins recognition.

To leave a legacy

This is something that not all writers will admit to. So I’m putting my hand up. It was my original motivation. Until one day I realised  that it was just my ego talking. In my view, if I have an ego and five bucks I can buy a cup of coffee withe the five. Absolutely jack with my ego. Over time, I’ve come to realise that my real reason for writing comes from deep within. from a place that I can’t even describe for myself. It just is.

As I look around me, I see people everywhere, ordinary people, who have lived seemingly ordinary lives that have affected and influenced countless others during their lifetimes. Yet when they are gone they are soon forgotten. The lessons they taught gone with them. Had they written even something simple like a diary, that diary may influence generations to come. Just like The Diary of Ann Frank. Written by a young teenage girl in 1942, it still affecting the lives of people today. Many people seek to leave a legacy that will last well beyond their days. While there are many ways to do that, many people see writing as a way to maintain their legacy. A book or story written about a person or event becomes history. Which is what history is. His/Her Story

A book that is written to educate can educate people years after the fact. As can one written to entertain or amuse. A book can stay relevant long after its writer is gone from this world. Regardless of the subject or content, creating a book or story can end up becoming part of someone’s legacy.


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