To describe writers in brief: bipolar, self-doubting, whiney, lonely, self-critics, strange, different, bipolar (oh wait, said that already...).
We can, quite honestly, be a perfect mess. I rarely meet an author that is self-confident about anything (and when I do, they tend to annoy me. Except for the one that said: “help! my novel is perfect!” Then I just laughed.), and I certainly belong to the stereotypical bipolar, doubtful, whiney crowd.
A community of writers (for me, the OYAN forum) helps a lot with most of these writer-ly ailments, particularly the feeling of isolation and loneliness that the craft of writing involves. (And also, we can then whine together.) It’s also wonderful to have fellow writers who actually know how help me make a book better, and won’t just say “it’s good” or “missed a comma.” But even with all that, there can still be something missing.
Writers write to be read. We can say we write for our own enjoyment or just because we like it, but the truth is that at the heart of every writer is a longing for readers. Without that longing, I would venture to say you’re not exactly a “writer” but rather someone who happens to write. Why do bloggers like people to follow, comment, and contact them? Why do they (or is it just me...) watch stats like hawks to see how many times the blog is hit and which posts are popular? Because they know they’re being read. It’s not just a cry to emptiness.
That’s where readers come in. And, those number 1 fans.
From the ages of 8 to 15, my biggest fan was my sister Grace. Even though I never finished a book in my first 6 years of writing, Grace read everything I wrote. She read all 48,000 words of the novel that would become Betsy Flowain (when it went down to 39,000), she read my Robin Hood snippets, she read A Tale of Interesting Coincidences and Unexpected Happenings. The only thing she didn’t read was my brief LotR fanfiction, and that’s because I hid it from her (it has since been justly erased from all time and space).
She read everything.
I was a writer; I was 8; I was being read. My little sister nurtured my early years.
Since my joining the OYAN forum, God has blessed me with friends, critiquers...and more no. 1 fans. Jane, Mercia, Lizzie. They were sure (or at least said they were sure) that I was brilliant. I was sure I wasn’t, but I appreciated their love of my writing and my stories. They lifted me up when I was down.
Writers can’t survive without critiquers. They CAN survive without die-hard fans, but die-hard fans do help keep our teensy egos slightly alive. They tell us we’re not wasting the time in front of the computer.
And so, I thank God for the blessing that each of my no. 1 fans is.
Who are your no. 1 fans? Do you ever thank them for their devotion?