Why I Write

Published in Professional Development, Meta on Jun 23, 2010

This was originally posted to Facebook and is being republished here for wider availability.

Someone I know recently sent me a question that I found interesting.

“I'm... exploring why I continue to pursue the insanity that is writing, and I want to get some views from people who write in other disciplines. Got any insight to share on why you wrote your book?”

I'm unfortunately still seeing delays in the print edition of my book being published. My apologies to those of you who have been asking after it; trust me when I say that I'm doing everything I can at this point to make it happen.

Unpleasantries aside, I decided to take a blog post to answer this question. I've actually written on this subject in the past with respect to technical publishing in particular, if you'd like more background on that.

As far as my personal reasons go, they certainly didn't relate to money. Technical publishing may not be as saturated a market as mainstream fiction, but it's also not as lucrative for authors.

Its relatively limited audience also eliminates fame as a reason, at least outside of that audience. A book may complement an existing reputation, but it's more rare to establish a substantial level of notoriety through being published. Respect within that community -- colleagues, peers, and prospective employers -- is a more feasible goal.

That leads me to my personal main reason for writing my book: credentials. My knowledge and skills were vetted by a publisher respected within the industry for the quality of the books they publish. While it may not be directly monetary, that respect has value and there are few ways for an individual to attain it. Publishing a book is one such method.

Lastly, I felt I had something to share with an audience with whom I had a common interest. The topic of my book may be a bit niche, but prospective readers are all the more likely to be fervorous about studying or otherwise pursuing it. Readers of science fiction and technical books have this trait in common. If I ever end up publishing a fiction piece, it will likely be in the former genre.

It's one thing to publish a blog post or an article in a professional magazine, but a book signifies a higher level of commitment, dedication, and perseverance. If writing is insane, it's in the same boat with getting married and going to college. I doubt there are enough padded rooms and straitjackets in the world for all its college students, married couples, and writers.