81 Percent of People Want to Write a Book Someday …

A lot of people want to, but don’t.

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… and many never will.

In 2002, 81 percent of people surveyed said they felt they wanted to write a book.

That’s right — the majority of people (at least in 2002) wanted to do the exact same thing you’ve likely wanted to do for a long time.

There’s nothing special or original about wanting to author a masterpiece.

However … there’s something very special about actually being able to write one.

Why does everyone want to write a book so badly? Honestly, because publishing a book is easy enough that technically anyone CAN write and distribute their work. And good for them.

But the problem is that actually writing a book — or a blog post or a screenplay or whatever it is you aspire to craft — is not as easy as it seems from the outside.

You do not see the work that goes into your favorite books. You hold in your hands the product of years’ worth of effort. It just doesn’t feel that way.

You hear about that person you knew from high school who self-publishes multiple books a year and wonder why, if she can’t do it, you haven’t yet.

You think about the amount of work it’s going to take to finally turn that rough outline hiding on your hard drive into something publishable. And you give up before you even start, because it all just feels like too much to endure.

No — writing a book is not easy. Writing a good book is nearly impossible without help.

But that does not mean it cannot be done.

Don’t just go into starting a new writing project knowing it will be hard and worrying about your sanity.

Go into it knowing that your first draft is going to be the worst thing you have ever written in your life and set your expectations low.

Too many people stop themselves from writing because their first attempts don’t feel good enough.

Well, welcome to writing — where approximately 90 percent of all first drafts never make it into the final product.

All you have to do is get your story out.

If you write one draft and it’s garbage but you’re satisfied and you never want to look at it again, fine. At least you wrote a book. You accomplished something amazing and you deserve all the praise.

But if you write one draft and hate it but desperately want to make it better … make it better.

Go back and edit. Rewrite. Do it over.

Keep doing it over until you can live with the results. And then go from there.

A lot of people want to write a book.

All you have to do is start. You’re already so much more accomplished than every person who wants to do this but never even tries.

One step at a time.

That’s it.

You can do that.

We all can.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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5 thoughts on “81 Percent of People Want to Write a Book Someday …

  1. I actually think that if more artists are willing to share their mid editing/first drafts with readers upon releasing their final work, it would change how more people see the process of writing/creating too, and perhaps encourage them to do so more.

    1. I plan on doing this in some capacity someday, I promise! I feel like it’s definitely a lot easier to share a first draft once there’s already a polished version out there…

      1. Oh yeah, it definitely is easier. No spoilers too! And I would be really curious to see your initial drafts :D

  2. I think writing a book is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Took me almost 6 years to produce a publishable piece of work. In all fairness to myself, I had no training and had to learn as I went along. Fortunately for me, a literary agent took the time to send me several messages explaining why my work wasn’t ready, and what I needed to do. I could string words together into a coherent sentence, but I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between English teacher writing and fiction writing.

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