I belong to several online writer groups, and recently a discussion popped up on one about what authors wanted from their readers. One lady, who I’ve not met in person and have not read her books, said, “Once they have bought my book, I don’t care if they read it or not. They can throw it in the trash for all I care, as long as I get my money.”
I can’t find the words to explain how sad that makes me. I shake my head, thinking this person may or may not have learned to write a good story, but she has missed the point of why we write. I’m aware that my attitude may sound elitist, but hang with me long enough for me to explain.
Writing is a two-fold gift. It starts in an internal place of silence, and bubbles up slowly from that place deep within to splash itself across the page. There in lies the first gift, from Creation to paper, with the writer acting as a lightening rod. The writer enjoys the thrill of exploring their souls, digging for those shiny nuggets. There is more delight when the story comes together, and the writer finally discovers what wonders s/he had uncovered from the depths of consciousness.
But once the writer’s work is done, and all the nuggets have been polished and molded into something unique and beautiful, the second gift presents itself. That is the gift from the writer’s heart to the reader. A good story touches deep to deep. There is no completion until the cycle is finished by the reader’s comprehension of what lay in the writer’s soul. Without that, the joy of writing is only half fulfilled.
Writing stories should be accomplished with respect for the reader, and given with love. It is the joy of creation, but more importantly, it is also the giving with love that makes writing special. If you can’t appreciate the unique bond between writer and reader, then you might as well be a bookkeeper, entering figures in a ledger all day.