1. It’s a pension for you and your children
It was Samuel Johnson who said that only a blockhead writes for money, which is true. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t mean you can’t hope for the best. It doesn’t mean you can’t hope that the book you write will make you as rich as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, or at the very least, that the modest royalties you receive will help provide you with a small pension in your old age. You may live in a country which gives your heirs the copyright to your work for 50 years or even 70 years after you are dead. But it is clear that not only will you get royalties from writing your book when you’re alive, your children, and possibly even your grandchildren, will benefit from future sales of your book. What’s more, they don’t even have to worry about you disapproving of how they choose to spend the publisher’s cheques. Of course, there is a catch: you have to write a good book which loads of people will want to read for themselves and then buy for their friends and family too. With the state of the current pension system, it could be argued that attempting to write a bestseller is going to be better for you than simply relying on the measly pension scheme which your employer can barely afford. It’s also probably going to be a lot more fun writing a book to fund that trip to China or to help you to try something you’ve never done before but always want try if only you had the money.
2. The Legacy Factor
Let’s face it; the world’s an unpredictable place. You could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Nothing is ever certain in life, but many writers just like you will leave their mark on the world, even more so than most kings, generals and politicians whose achievements fall like grains of sand on a beach. Your pen is mightier than the sword because, while empires rise and fall, many of the great works of literature, philosophy and religion have survived the centuries and continue to influence people’s behaviour today. The writers of the past and present will shape the culture we live in well into the future. Those that write something of worth will leave a legacy which lives on in the minds of each new generation that reads them. The power you hold in your hand, as you put pen to paper, could be a force for good in the lives of millions of people and change someone’s life at a stroke. If you don’t believe me just ask your friends and family what they thought about that kind note you wrote for them, and which encouraged them or gave them some comfort when they needed it the most. If nothing else, it’s worth noting that someone has to write the next book which contains iconic characters like James Bond, Ebenezer Scrooge and Snow White, so why not you? As Shakespeare said, ‘so long live this, so long lives thee,’ which means that those you choose to write about in your book will continue to survive long after you, and they are no longer here. In short, your book can give you and your subject a kind of immortality. Well, that’s what Shakespeare seems to be saying, and he ought to know a thing or two as we’re still reading him centuries after he died.
3. It was the worst of books. It was the best of books
So far we’ve been working under the assumption that you’re a decent writer, but the reality could be that you’re just really rubbish. But perhaps that’s point. Perhaps you’re meant to write one of the worst books ever written because perhaps you are meant to inspire someone else to write something better. Perhaps your turgid and ham-fisted writing will inspire the writing of a great work of literature? If you’re like many writers, the decision to pick up a pen and start writing, wasn’t because you were inspired by some great piece of prose from a long-dead writer. No, the truth is, it was probably the experience of reading something which was badly written that inspired you the most and left you with the question: how the hell did that get published? So write rather than write nothing at all. Be inspirational.
4. Everyone has a book in them
You are the author of your own story, and, while you might have a book in you, other people are living rich lives which would be ripe for some enterprising writer to mine. Also, to coin a phrase, a writer must be the change they want to see. By writing and then publishing your book, something that so many people fail to do, you will inspire those around you to achieve their goals. By acting as a positive role model you can be a beacon in the darkness, you can help unleash the potential of a thousand stories, stories which will go on to rewrite the stories of their lives and perhaps create a better ending for future generations.
Okay, that last one was a bit too idealistic, but I’m sure you can see the point. In the end, what have you got to lose? Even if what you write is utter nonsense and people mock you for your trouble. In the long run, we will all be dead, and at least you will have given it your best shot.
The best of luck.