You love writing. You know readers connect with what you write.
And you want to hold a book with your name on it in your hands. You see becoming an author as an accomplishment and a source of satisfaction in itself.
But what is the deep personal charge moving you to write? Why embark on the author’s journey?
Going through these 11 different examples, you’ll see a range of reasons writers write. And the outcomes authors experience.
One may jump out at you, creating more clarity around why you’ll write your own first book.
Let’s dive in.
Writing a book can help you process your experiences.
Writing about your lived experiences is a powerful tool for processing and making sense of past events. You might gain new insights or understanding (and yes, it’s cheaper than therapy).
An example of this is “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover. The book tells the story of the author’s upbringing in a strict, conservative family in rural Idaho, and her journey to obtain a higher education. The book explores the power of education and the challenges of breaking away from one’s past.
Writing a book can help you find your community.
When you write about your area of expertise, you connect with others who share your interests or experiences. Your book can serve as a beacon for others who are searching for knowledge, guidance, or inspiration in your field.
Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” helped her connect with a large community of readers who saw parts of themselves reflected in her research on vulnerability and shame.
Writing a book can help you build your brand or business.
If you’re an expert in a particular area, writing a book can establish you as a thought leader. It’s a calling card for potential clients or customers and helps build your personal or professional brand. If you’re looking to establish yourself as an authority, writing a book can be a great way to do it.
Tim Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Work Week” helped establish him as a lighthouse in the fields of productivity and entrepreneurship.
Writing a book can help you leave a legacy.
If you’ve lived an interesting life, writing a book can pass your stories and experiences down to future generations in your family and the world. It’s a time capsule, preserving your memories and insights for posterity.
Elie Wiesel’s “Night” documents his experience surviving the Holocaust and has become a seminal work in the field of Holocaust literature.
Writing a book can help you make a difference in the world.
If you have expertise that can make a positive impact on the world, writing a book can share that knowledge with a wider audience. It can inspire others to take action or make changes in their own lives or communities. A book can make a difference and spread your message.
Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” sounded the alarm about the dangers of pesticides and helped launch the modern environmental movement.
Writing a book can be like embarking on a treasure hunt.
Writing a book lets you dive deep into a subject that fascinates you, uncovering new insights and connections. It’s a way to flex your creative muscles and experiment with new forms and styles.
David Epstein, a former sports writer, took a detour from his area of expertise to explore the benefits of being a generalist instead of a specialist in today’s society in “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”.
Writing a book can be a way to connect with your roots.
Writing a book can explore and celebrate your family history or cultural heritage. It’s a way to honor the past while sharing its lessons with a wider audience.
Michael Twitty’s “The Cooking Gene” is a great example of this. He’s a culinary historian who explored his African-American and Jewish heritage through food. Growing up in the American South, he was inspired to write the book by his own quest to understand his family’s history.
Writing a book can give voice to the natural world.
Writing a book can share your perspective or experience with the natural world. It gives voice to those creatures who may not have had a platform before and helps others understand different ways of seeing the world.
“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery explores the lives and personalities of octopuses and sheds light on the wonders of the natural world. The book celebrates the diversity of life and the power of curiosity and empathy.
Writing a book can be a way to bridge cultural divides.
Writing a book can build connections and bridge divides across cultural or geographic communities by sharing stories and perspectives.
“The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri is a novel that explores the experiences of a Bengali-American family, weaving together themes of identity, culture, and belonging.
Writing a book can help you heal from loss or grief.
Writing a book can help you come to terms with grief and find meaning. It can also provide comfort and guidance to others.
“The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion is an excellent example of this. Didion’s memoir explores her experience of grief after her husband’s sudden death. As a renowned journalist and essayist, Didion turned to writing as a way to make sense of her loss.
Writing a book can help you navigate challenging times.
Writing a book can help you deal with crises and uncertainties. It can offer hope and inspiration to your readers.
In “The Light We Carry,” Michelle Obama explores how to stay grounded and purposeful in unsettled times. She shares lessons from her own life and offers strategies to overcome self-limiting stories.
So you can see in these 11 examples that authors hail from different pasts with a range of reasons to write. Some are distinctly personal and start a process of self-discovery. Others are outward-looking, seeking to inform and build bridges across culture and time. In every case, writing is a journey of growth.
Your own stories and way of looking at life will make your book unique.
Whether the book is soothing, startling, or stimulating, now you have your “why” sorted, it’s time to buckle in, write away, and share those insights with your waiting readers.