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  • Writer's pictureRaykel Tolson


According to a survey conducted by One Poll on behalf of Thrift Books, more than half of the 2000 people surveyed said they wanted to write a book. Of the roughly 1080 people who wanted to write a book, 162 started, 65 got halfway through, and only 86 completed their book. A few of the excuses for not starting or completing were no time, got bored with the process, or perfectionism. Have you been thinking about writing a book? What is keeping you from writing your book?

Some of you may be thinking there are already too many authors in the United States. According to in 2021, there were roughly 49,410 people in the United States who were authors and writers. That is a little over 1% of the population. There is room for more authors. Some may think that your story isn’t important. If you are African American, then your story is not only important but necessary. According to data collected by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education in 2020, only 13% of literature was stories about Black people, and less than 8% of books were by a Black author. One of the societal benefits of literature is that it creates empathy. Maybe the majority in the United States would have more empathy toward Black people if more of our stories were published.

Another excuse that keeps many from writing the book that has been placed in their heart is that someone else has already published a similar book. To that I say, what if John refused to write his book about Jesus because Matthew, Mark, and Luke beat him to it? If you have ever read the first four chapter of the New Testament in the Bible, then you know that none of them are the same, although they were all stories about the life of Jesus. Matthew focused on the royalty of Jesus, Mark focused on the servanthood of Jesus, Luke focused on the humanity of Jesus, and John focused on the Deity of Jesus. I am so glad that John decided to write his book because I connect more with it.

If perfectionism is keeping you from starting or finishing your book, do me a favor and say this aloud, “Done is better than perfect!” Perfectionism is typically about fear of failure. I understand that you don’t want to have your name associated with a poorly written book, so I will give you 3 tips to keep that from happening.

1. Read books that are like the book you want to write.

2. Make sure your message is authentic.


I often suggest to people to write a novel or novella because fiction is a great way to keep from falling out with family and friends. Our stories are never just our story. Where nonfiction is your message as a discussion, fiction is your message as a story. In fiction, you need characters and a plot. The easiest way to explain the plot is that somebody somewhere wants something, but stuff happens until they do this to finally get what they want (or need). And the more dramatic the stuff that happens, the more interesting the story.

I encourage you to use November to just write the book. You might not finish your entire book, but you will have made progress.

Blessings & Happy Holidays!

Dr. Raykel Tolson

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