Why We Write

Why do we write? A catalog of motivations would require many pages. But motivation matters. Can we talk about beautiful books without talking about content?

Pursuit of money, prestige, influence, and power no doubt motivates many writers. Scholarship, journalism, advertising, and public relations are honorable writing professions that reward many writers well and, in some cases, confer prestige and influence. Regrettably, a sizable misinformation industry has emerged that employs all too many writers churning out work that undermines trust and fragments civic society.

Self-publishers step courageously outside established institutions. Self-publishing is quite lucrative for a few, but for most---not so much. Prestige or influence? Have we heard yet of a self-publisher who's influenced an election?

So why do self-publishers invest long and lonely hours at keyboard or pencil and pad to confront the challenges of selling books to a largely indifferent public?

My guess is that many, if not most, self-publishers have a compelling need to write, to communicate, to share their expansive imaginations, insights, or hard-earned knowledge. For many this is motivation enough.

I believe that every literate person on earth has a unique perspective on life and, likely, a compelling story to tell. But crafting a story; structuring ideas, knowledge, and narrative; wrestling readable, engaging content between the covers of a published book takes commitment, discipline, and considerable effort.

That said, a truly beautiful book is far more than design and typography. In some fundamental way a beautiful book must advance knowledge and communicate resonant insights into the human condition.

It's an all too easy path to plagiarize successful works of others, publish personal rants, hate, or to fall back on the trivial clichés of genre.

But serious writing is a journey of discovery---a search for insight into self, society, and our natural world. Genres such as sci-fi, romance, mysteries, and thrillers provide structural coherence for entertaining tales and ready readers. But the best within the genres enlighten, push expectations, seek to go beyond what’s been done before in interesting ways.

Beautiful writing is a struggle to unearth enduring truth. It inspires the mind and warms the heart. It’s damed hard to write but well worth the rigors of the journey.

Beautiful writing gracing the pages of beautiful books is the most sure-fire way forward for the self-publishing movement.