Are More Readers Turning Into Writers?

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Recently a fellow author shared the link to an interesting article called: Are There More Authors Than Readers. The article cites the commonly known statistic that says 80% of Americans want to write a book and says: "Now that it’s so easy and straightforward to write and publish your own book – How many of those 80% of Americans will write a book?"

The article goes on to expound on the thought: "Everyone has a story to share. How many people are willing to listen? We have hundreds of millions of people around the world that are reaching the stage where they have enough rich life experience to write meaningful things. We also have nearly as many people who understand the nuances well enough to write things that thrill and give pleasure and scare and excite and connect. Even among the younger generations we have some fine writers."

The article concludes that as more and more people write their stories and with the ease of self-publishing, the number of writers could eventually outnumber the amount of readers.

I'm not sure I would draw the same conclusion. I don't think everyone who starts out to write a book will finish. Those who complete one book will not necessarily go on to write more. And even fewer writers will persevere to make careers of writing books.

As anyone who's ever written a book knows, developing a writing career is not as easy as it first appears!

Nevertheless, let's hypothetically say that more readers ARE turning in to writers. Here are several reasons why I think that could be a good thing:

1. Readers who turn into writers will become more aware of the process of writing and publication. They'll understand the difficulties. When they've experienced the hardships first hand, they'll likely become more sensitive in their criticisms and less judgmental to the writerly life.

2. Readers who turn into writers will become more aware of the cost of books. They'll understand just how difficult it is for writers to profit from their hard work. And they'll be more apt to BUY books to support authors.

3. Readers who turn into writers usually read even more voraciously. As Stephen King says: If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. Writers read to learn about their genres, to develop awareness of writing techniques, and to become more knowledgeable of the publishing industry.

4. Readers who turn into writers are usually incredibly supportive influencers for authors. They want to help promote because they know how critical word of mouth is to the success of a book. And they want to help others because they know that someday they'll need that help for themselves.

All of the above points are true for me! Since I've started writing seriously, I've become MUCH more knowledgeable of the writing life, more gracious in my criticism, and more accepting of differences. I'm MUCH more likely to buy books (versus checking them out from the library). I read WAY MORE voraciously now than ever before. And I LOVE being able to support other authors.

All that to say, I don't discourage anyone from trying their hand at writing a book. If the passion is there, you'll never know whether to pursue a writing career unless you try. Besides, you don't want to reach the end of your life and have regrets that you didn't live to the fullest and do the things you dreamed about.

And if writing ends up NOT being your thing, that's okay too. You can check writing off your bucket list, knowing that you didn't let fear hold you back. The process won't be wasted because we grow stronger when we do hard things.

Dear readers, have YOU ever considered writing a book? Do you think it's possible that some day we could have more writers than readers? Why or why not?

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