5 Terrible Reasons to Be a Writer

People all around the world dream and talk about being a writer every day. Some people do a little writing as a hobby, while others jump ship in their day job and take up writing full time.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of why we write, but there might be more to it than the simple answers we sometimes give.

5 Bad Reasons to Write for a Living

There’s no one best way to become a writer, but there are a lot of bad reasons to start. Here are five to get you thinking.

1. to impress romantic partners

book scattered with hearts

I get it. We all want to be loved, and we don’t always go about it the right way. That’s one of the reasons people love to read about relationships, because in books, even the worst start can become a Happily Ever After end.

But writing just to impress someone you want to be with isn’t a feasible plan. A lot more goes into writing than jotting down a few notes, throwing together a cover in Paint, and publishing it – despite what some people may have you believe.

Writing takes guts. It takes time, effort, and hard work. It can keep you away from your family, your friends, and the things you love to do in your down time.

Life isn’t a rom-com. Don’t treat it like one.

2. because “everyone has a book in them”

While I think it’s great that people want to help others reach their dreams, I don’t believe that just anyone can or should write a book.

There’s a reason not everyone can finish NaNoWriMo or even make their way through a term paper without a lot of sweat and tears. Not everyone is a writer – and that’s okay! Just as not everyone can build a house, plan a portfolio, or work on the Large Hadron Collider, not everyone has the skills to write a book.

If you think you have a book in you that needs to be out in the world and you know you don’t have what it takes to get it done, that’s when you need to think about hiring a ghostwriter, not tacking “Author” onto your resume.

3. to make easy money

Most authors writing today aren’t making enough to live on off their book sales alone. Period.

Here’s a study about that. And another one.


4. because writing is easy

The life of an author isn’t an easy one. It’s not like television shows like Castle would have you believe for the majority of writers.

Writing takes dedication. To bring a book from idea seed to a complete published book, there will be hours, weeks, months, and sometimes years of work.

The first draft is the first hurdle, but after that, you still have to:

  • rewrite,
  • recruit beta readers,
  • make more edits,
  • send it to an editor,
  • get or make a book cover (depending on your other skills),
  • have it formatted or format it yourself (again, depending on skills),
  • publish it on your chosen platforms,
  • market it or have it marketed (skill-dependent),
  • and start the next book.

Not sounding so simple anymore, is it?

5. to bring people down

woman looking into camera holding match while buildings burn behind her

Honestly, if you’re writing just to drag people in the public eye, you probably need to examine your life choices. Not only will you probably get yourself in trouble legally, the act of defamation is a blight on your character, and no matter how much you think you want revenge, it’s not worth it.

And if you’re doing it to prove someone wrong, that’s almost as bad. Look inward, decide what you want for your life, and go for it. Don’t let other people determine the course you take. That’s just giving away your power.

Good Reasons for Writing

So you know some of the reasons not to write for a living, but what are some of the good ones?

  • You have stories or ideas begging to get out.
  • You love to write.
  • You’re good at it.
  • You don’t feel right if you’re not writing.
  • You’re a writer.



Are you guilty of writing for the wrong reasons? Can you think of more bad reasons to write for a living that I haven’t listed here? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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3 responses to “5 Terrible Reasons to Be a Writer”

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