What you miss when ChatGPT writes your book

Oct 5, 2023 | Better Writing

“Well, I guess you’ll be out of a job soon!” Bill grinned and clapped me on the shoulder. “I guess people won’t need help writing a book anymore. They’ll just use that ChatGPT thing to write it for them. So, they won’t need a coach like you.”

Lots of people think like that. They’re sure that technology will make author coaches like me obsolete. “After all,” they reason,” you won’t need a coach when technology does all the work.”

I get why people think that way, but they don’t know what it takes to make writing good. They don’t realize that the writer benefits from doing the work.

Better than “Just as good as”

Good writing is hard work. Great articles, blog posts, and books go through several rounds of revision. All excellent writing is iterative.

“Just as good as” writing never is. Your frozen and microwaved Italian dinner isn’t just as good as what you’d get at a fine Italian restaurant. Great writing takes a human touch.

Writing forces you to confront the gaps in your thinking.

Writing forces you to clarify your thinking. When your ideas are in your head, they seem complete and logical. But when you start to write them out, you discover the gaps in your thinking.

Writing clearly means thinking clearly.

Great leaders, like Dwight Eisenhower, used writing to clarify their thinking. Eisenhower wrote “concerns of a commander” memos to himself as he analyzed difficult situations.

Some writers understand writing and thinking as the same process. Joan Didion wrote, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” Isaac Asimov described writing as “thinking through my fingers.”

ChatGPT isn’t you.

If you want your book to be in your personal voice and style, you’re the best one to do the writing. ChatGPT is impressive technology, but it can never be you.


You can write better than a “just as good as” article, blog post, or book.

Writing forces you to confront the gaps in your thinking.

Writing helps you think more clearly.

Only you can produce your unique style and voice.

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