Recently, I got into a discussion with a writer friend about if writing novels was worth the effort.
Surely, it is when you consider you’re doing something your passionate about. A lot of writers say if they couldn’t write, they’d lose their outlet. It’s a wall that we can throw out in front of us, shutting out the world while we dive into ones we create. It’s the drug we need to keep us sane. It’s the very breath that give us life.
We push ourselves to push our minds to levels we often wonder if we can reach. We struggle, and yet, we rise to the challenge we place upon ourselves. We create, we bond, we dive into situations that most wouldn’t dive into. We use our imagination, sometimes to the point of a mind-numbing madness that non-writers would think insane.
We build our ice castles up the North Mountain and then stand back while others enjoy our handiwork.
With all that said, however, this wasn’t what my friend meant by questioning the worth of our efforts.
You see, her family and friends, who she thought would be her biggest supporters, aren’t. They don’t really share her book release posts or participate in her release parties. While a handful of them do read her novels, most of them don’t, and the ones that do, rarely leave a review for her.
They really don’t do much at all.
While most authors write for themselves, there are a few that that write for readers. Of course, even the ones who do it for themselves, like the fact that they entertain others. If we didn’t, we would write our stories and never publish them.
We may write for us, but we love spreading it out to the world.
Well, I supposed I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s how I feel, and that is how my friend feels. So you can imagine her disappointment when the her own flesh and blood or people she’s known her whole life lack support for her.
“I receive more praise from people who don’t even know me,” she cries. “I just don’t understand it. It makes me want to walk away from them all. I mean, I have over seven hundred friends on Facebook and I’ve sold ten novels. Ten. Out of at least four hundred women family and friends on my social media! I see some ask about good books to read, and it’s like they are reading everything under the sun, but mine. They are supporting authors they don’t even know, and yet, can’t give one they do know, the time of day.”
So what’s an author to do with that? What’s this girl to do with that?
Because her family aren’t the only readers in the world. Because their lack of support doesn’t reflect on her, it reflects on them. Because this is her life, her career, and her future. Because she loves to write.
Just like everything in life, there are times when a writer needs to let things go. Bad reviews, unsupportive family and friends, writers block, writers doubt, rejection letters—just let it go.
And don’t let it define you.
Because it doesn’t.
It defines them.