i love stories in all forms: stage, screen, lyrics, poems, & fiction.
but people are my favorite narratives by far. in the words of a wise time lord...
"we're all stories in the end." ~ doctor who
i recently traveled to charleston, sc for yallfest. if you are not familiar with that festival, it's a one day festival crammed full of middle grade and young adult authors. there were about 50 of the top authors in the business. that many panels are the PERFECT place for a story junkie like me. not only are the authors talking about the incredible works they've created but they let people like me (fangirls & fanboys) have a small glimpse into the person behind the words.
in addition to festivals and cons i also fangirl all over twitter & tumblr and EVEN GREATER THAN THAT some of my favorite writers actually let me be part of their lives. part of their stories. i seriously try to keep the fangirling to a minimum among my friends but sometimes it can not be tamed. if you, too, are a fangirl/fanboy then you get me & no further explanation is required. if you are not...i have suggestions for you! you need to know true fandom passion.
i digress...where was i? right...
by some great miracle i get to hang out with authors much of the time & do you want to know what i have learned?
CREATIVITY = VULNERABILITY
that sounds so simple and i feel like some of you are probably sorry you've read to this point just for that but don't stop now! keep reading!
we throw around the word vulnerable for so many things but the kind i'm talking about is HOLISTIC VULNERABILITY. i have read blogs & twitter posts by incredible authors explaining the physical toll a draft or a revision has taken on their body. i recently heard a dear friend on a panel say that finishing her trilogy "almost literally killed" her and she wasn't exaggerating. i have watched some level headed & consistently solid people meet a deadline & immediately get sick. studies have shown that writers are among the highest at risk for depression but if you don't believe the stats, that's okay. read this honest & painful account of how truly hard the writing journey can be from an international bestseller. and, get this, her books are very very happy making, you would've never guessed.
so, am i writing this just to bring attention to the fact that writing is hard? no....and yes.
first the NO. i am writing this for the other addicts like me out there. when these books hit shelves and we fall all over ourselves to read them, that's where our part begins. that book is out of the author's hands it is no longer "theirs" it becomes "ours." but here's the thing - they CAN NOT divorce themselves from that book. that author has given birth and can now watch it grow but it will forever hold part of his/her soul. the book is part of the author. the author is part of the book.
we are completely & totally allowed to dislike a book. we can disagree with a plot choice the author made. we can loathe the fact that a certain character died. we can throw the book into a blazing, burning, black fire as a result of our passionate dislike. BUT we have NO RIGHT to attack a person. you might think an author has stepped back and disconnected from a book because it has become "ours." they have not. by the time a book reaches a place you & i can read it, the author has been in relationship with those characters for years. that author gave part of himself/herself to share that story with us. i promise you, if you feel - HEAD EXPLODE, THROW SOMETHING, RIP OUT PAGES, LAY IT DOWN, BURN IT WITH THE BLACK FIRE OF A THOUSAND WITCHES - mad about something...there were probably months of turmoil over that decision because they love the book too.
on the other hand, if a book is - HEAD EXPLODE, HEART POUNDING, NEED THAT BOOK ON YOUR PERSON AT ALL TIMES, UNICORNS & RAINBOWS, WEEP LIKE YOU ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE GLASS AND LOKI IS INCHES AWAY GRIEVING BUT YOU. CAN. NOT. TOUCH. HIM.- good...then tell someone! tell your friends. tell your enemies. tell the hottie in front of you at your local indie (this is always a good choice) and lastly, TELL THE AUTHOR. write a review, tell them on twitter, BUY EXTRA BOOKS AS GIFTS and bring like 20 for them to sign when you meet them (they like this). if you tell one person & they read it...you've made a difference.
now for the YES. yes, i'm telling you writing is hard because i think those of us who walk into barnes & noble and see hundreds of choices before us assume getting your book on one of those shelves is easy.
it is not.
writing is hard and as a fangirl reader i want to say thank you. if you are reading this and you write books...i see you. i know that you had to open a vein and spill part of yourself onto that keyboard. and i know that after that YOU HAD TO DO IT AGAIN, maybe 3, 4, 20 times! you make yourself vulnerable - ON EVERY SINGLE LEVEL - so that the world knows good art.
you matter. your work matters. and you are not taken for granted.
hug an author. (with permission, of course)