It’s been six months since the publication of my book Love Like Fire: The Story of Heidi Baker, and while I’ve moved on to other projects, I periodically get feedback that the book has impacted someone deeply.

And I marvel at the staying power of art, and the ability it has to impact people long after I put in the time and energy to create it.

So if you’re wondering whether you should write that book, the answer is emphatically: YES, YOU SHOULD. Here are 5 good reasons why you should write a book.

1. It can make you happier. Scientific research shows that the advantages of writing about your personal experiences include reduced mood swings, a boost in memory, improved physical health and an increase in positive feelings. Who wouldn’t want all of those benefits?

2. It helps you clarify your thinking. The act of writing forces you to know what you think and why. And it helps you share with others those things that matter most to you. If you’re writing about your personal experiences, the act of writing and editing helps you to process difficult memories and even heal from them.

3. It’s the best way to share an idea or story that matters. Writing is a beautiful, creative expression that can make your story or idea alive in the minds of your readers. It can move people emotionally; it can teach and it can inspire. Your words have the potential to change people, and by showing them something they’ve never seen before or by inspiring them, you have the ability to change the world.

4. It can reach more people than you as an individual can. Most individuals have an average of 100-150 people in their immediate social circle, while your book has the potential to reach an unlimited number of people.

5. Your book can outlive you.  Period.

One of my very favorite responses to my book was from a woman who doesn’t consider herself a reader. She said she finally understands what it feels like not to be able to put a book down. What would typically take her months to read, she finished in just three days, having been moved to tears multiple times. In person, I would not have had the opportunity to share with that woman nonstop for three days, and I doubt I would have moved her to tears through my spoken words. Writing a book is such a rare opportunity to speak into someone’s life.

Start writing!