Be honest with yourself for a moment: How long have you been telling yourself that you’re going to write that book? It’s okay if the answer is “for years.” The truth is many people feel they have a story to tell but never get around to it. And while there are plenty of reasons why people don’t write, the most common reason is simply that they give up on their dream.

According to Wealth Research Group, 98 percent of people go to their graves without realizing their dreams. I was unable to find a statistic regarding how many of that 98 percent were dreaming of writing a book, but I suspect many of them were. Many decide that it’s simply not worth the effort, or they convince themselves that they don’t have what it takes. What they may not realize is that giving up on their dream, there are real costs involved.

Nathan Whitley said, “The pain of regret is far worse than the pain of discipline.” In this post, I’ll share 7 of the consequences when you give up on your dream to be an author.

1. The Cost of Regret from Inaction

There is quite a bit of research on the effects of regret, especially when it becomes a chronic rumination over what could have been. Studies suggest that regret caused by not acting is more likely to result in negative mental and physical outcomes than regret caused by taking an incorrect action. Negative consequences of regret include:

  • Increased stress
  • Depression
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Immune system malfunctions
  • Anxiety
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

In addition, regret can decrease your ability to recover from stressful life events because it extends the emotional reach of these events for months, years, and even a lifetime.

7 negative effects of regret

So, if you end up regretting your decision to not pursue your dream of being an author, you could end up both unhappy and unhealthy!

2. Loss of Potential Income

lost income when you give up your dreams

If you don’t write and publish a book and you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table. According to one survey of entrepreneurs, a little more than a third of them doubled their income by publishing a book based on their expertise.

That means if your business earns you $50K a year now, you could be losing an additional $50K for every year that you don’t have a book published. If you give up on your dream, that could add up to quite a lot! Imagine just five years at this rate: That would be $250K.

And it doesn’t stop there. Entrepreneur authors (what I call Authorneers) are:

  • Better able to gain media exposure, including both traditional and new media, which can bring in clients you can’t reach any other way.
  • More likely to book speaking engagements and more likely to get paid for those engagements. Imagine losing all those leads from missing out on these speaking opportunities, not to mention the income from leads, back-of-the-room sales, and speaking fees.
  • Able to secure better strategic partnerships, including referral partners, because of the authority and celebrity that comes with being an author.
  • More attractive to, and therefore more likely to acquire, high-quality, higher-value clients.

Books pay more than just royalties when you use them to grow your business. Giving up on that dream could become quite costly.

3. Lower Confidence and Self-Worth

No matter what the dream, when you give up on it, you’ll likely be disappointed with yourself. This, in turn, leads to lowered self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. I’ve met people who gave up on their dream or worse, let it die a slow death through inaction, and their self-recrimination can be palpable.

And, when your confidence and self-worth are low, it leads to a variety of other behaviors that can:

  • Make you feel unhappy in any and all areas of your life
  • Increase the chances of failed marriages and other relationships
  • Damage your physical health through imbalances in hormones, increased weight, and more

Take a look at that list again. Did you notice that these outcomes can cause and exacerbate each other? It can become a vicious cycle – all because you didn’t put pen to paper and get your book done.

pull quote about confidence

4. Shame and Embarrassment

On the one hand, you might feel like a failure in your own mind. That is bad enough. However, if friends, family, and even worse, strangers you’re connected with on social media, knew about your dream, you might also feel shame and embarrassment.

These emotions can lead you to withdraw, which could have both mental and financial consequences, as well.

5. Reduced Ability to Achieve Other Goals

pull quote about goals

When you have low self-esteem, which could be caused by regret, shame, or embarrassment, you may find it harder to achieve other goals. When you give up on your dream, you may develop a belief that because you couldn’t achieve your dream of writing a book, you are incapable of achieving any other goal. This conscious or unconscious belief may lead you to self-sabotage. And that can have mental, physical, and financial repercussions.

6. Ill Health

All of the results of giving up on your dream to be an author can cause a myriad of health problems, including:

  • Heart conditions
  • Weight management problems
  • Hormonal issues

And all of these, both together and separately, can increase your susceptibility to a wide variety of diseases and illnesses, which could shorten the length of your life, as well.

7. Increased Stress

All of these problems – ruminating over regret, reduced self-esteem, financial problems, and so forth – can increase your level of stress.

As I said earlier in this post, it becomes a vicious circle making it hard to identify the proverbial chicken and egg.

Please, Don’t Give Up on Your Dream

Of course, I’m not saying any, or all, of these will happen, but they could happen. It all depends on a variety of factors including why you gave up, whether you are pre-disposed to these outcomes, and more. So, what happens if you give up on becoming an author? I hope you now have a clearer idea of what inaction and giving up can have on your life.

If you are now more serious about becoming an author, don’t let anyone – including yourself – keep you from achieving your goal. One step you can take today that will help you put procrastination behind you is to book your no-cost Book Idea Diagnostic session! Learn more here. Then keep pushing forward and never give up on your dream.

Successful Books Leave Clues

Are you putting off writing your book because you are afraid your idea isn’t good enough? The Book Idea Diagnostic dives into your book idea to uncover the potential it already has and identifies specific areas for growth and improvement.


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