I make a lot of jokes on here, Facebook, and in person, about how certain things are the moment in which I finally feel validated as an author. There are definitely quite a few milestone moments that help a person recognize themselves as such. Things like receiving their first rejection letter from an agent, getting their first review, getting their first bad review, getting their first review from someone they don’t know, actually finishing the writing of a book, publishing a book, and the list can go on, I’m quite certain.
But I have to be honest when I say that no matter how many of these I pass, I still can’t help but feel a little like a sham from time to time. I mean, sure, I’m definitely an author. I’ve got 4 books out in the marketplace, two more on my harddrive and a whole bunch more just waiting to get some time spent on them…that’s not even considering the handful of items I’ve started writing, but just haven’t quite figured out the story for yet.
But I still kind of feel as though I’m just pretending to be something I’m not…which isn’t technically all the far off, because it’s not like I’m a professional author or anything (which, in my mind, means that I would be making some sort of substantial amount of money from the art (substantial meaning it could buy me lunch, at the least)). And that can get depressing from time to time. Well..depressing my be a tad inappropriate of a term to use…soul crushing might perhaps be better.
Not a week goes by in which I don’t consider giving up the craft and focusing my time on other things that are enjoyable, but less spiritually defeating. I always come to the realization that I love writing too much to be able to stop, even considering all of the baggage that comes along with it.
But this past weekend, I came to a greater realization, one that managed to lift my spirits, even if it was just for a couple days…Not a week goes by where I don’t get some sort of notification that someone is reading one of my books. Whether or not I’m getting regular checks, I am getting regular readers. In fact, I don’t believe it would be too much of a stretch to state that at any given moment, someone has one of my books on their nightstand, or loaded up on their kindle, or whatever, and is currently somewhere between page 1 and page last.
That means, at any given moment, someone other there is currently thinking about my books, whether for good or bad. In fact, this past weekend added (at least) two reviews to my growing pile of reviews. One was fairly glowing (yes…from a friend) the other was not so much (not from a friend…I don’t believe this is a measurable trend….I wish).
My wife actually finally read through my two most recent releases this weekend as well (she was a bit behind due to graduating college at the start of summer).
Whether they actually enjoy them or not, it seems to be that someone is reading my books, right now, at this moment…or, you know, is in between pages on such.
And you know what? That’s pretty damned cool. Sure, it’s not like I’m Stephen King, or whatever, in which thousands (if not millions) of people are currently working their way through one of my tomes…heck, I’d be amazed if I was even in the double digits. But knowing that at any given moment someone is actually making their way through is actually what I realized gives me that validation I need.
I may not be a great author, heck, I may not even be a good one, but I’m an author who is being read…and that’s really what it’s all about: getting read.
Luckily there are at least a few people out there who seem to connect with my writing, which makes that validation seem even stronger…of course, having folks not connect with it as well probably helps a bit as well. So, sure, I’m not exactly planning any book signing events at the moment, but I can at least rest easy knowing that my books are getting out there enough to find some readers…and a large number of them now are starting to be folks I have absolutely no connection with…and that’s cool.
Here ends my self-affirmation for this Monday. I’m hoping to finish the second draft of The Long Chron today, quite possibly one of the most difficult drafts to do on any book, meaning that it should be able to fly through the last few drafts pretty quickly and reach final decisions regarding whether or not it should be included in the “books that have received rejection letters from agents/publishers” pile.
Have fun out there!