Years ago, I heard a speaker at an Orange County Romance Writers of America meeting who said something I’ve never forgotten. I wish I could remember who the speaker was as I’d like to give her credit, because what she said has helped me so much since I’ve become published. She said that when we write a book and we put everything we have into it, then send it out into the world, it’s like we give birth to a baby, then hold it up for people to throw darts at it. It struck me as being profoundly true, even though, at the time, I had no experience of it. Now I do.
Since then, I’ve had three lesfic books published, with two more coming out in 2018. During the time since my first book release in 2015, I’ve thought quite a bit about how people have reacted to what I’ve written—whether it be through reviews, posts on social media, or through private messages and emails to me—and how interesting it is that a book can be loved by some and receive five star reviews, while at the same time be disliked or even hated by others and receive two star reviews. Sometimes, it can very much feel as though darts are being thrown at my baby, but as my author skin has thickened, as all author skin must do for someone to make it in this profession, I’ve frequently remembered the words of that speaker. I’ve also realized, though, there is more to it
A story comes to me as a seed or a kernel. It comes in its purest form—an idea. I’ve learned, however, that it already has within it how it will unfold and its completion, provided I will listen. I suspect it also has within it what it is here to do. It is, in fact, like a baby that comes into the world already with a purpose and a path, already with things that that being is here to do. As an author, I take that idea, and I work with it, and I help shape it and mold it. I help develop it, just like as a parent, I raise my children. I help shape and mold who they are to be. In general, though, in both cases, my job is to put my heart and soul and love into my children, as well as into all the creations that come through me, like the books I write, and in both instances, the day comes when it’s time for the child or the book that came from that initial idea, that kernel of a seed, to go out into the world to do whatever it came here to do, to fulfill its purpose, to touch the people whose paths it crosses in whatever way it does. And at that point, there will be people who love it. There will be people who maybe merely like it or even dislike it and maybe who even hate it.
The child will touch people’s lives as she does, just like the story will touch a reader however it does, based on what the story is and what about it drew the reader to it. In either case, my job as the parent or the writer is finished. Sure, in both cases, there may be questions I can answer or clarification I can give and I still love these amazing creations that came through me, but my children are adults with lives of their own and the stories are completed books in the hands of people I will never meet, affecting them in ways I will never know.
We are all channels, whether or not we know it. Whether it’s children who come through us, or books, or paintings, or a brand new way to do something at work or rearrange the furniture in our home for a fresh look and feeling, everything we do affects others and touches them in some way. And regardless of what our creations are, there always comes a time when we have to let them go and touch the world however they do.