Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting Humbled About Writing

Don't forget about the Design Your Book Cover Contest. It starts August 31st. Ten people have signed up, which is good, but we could use more! I'm terrible at this kind of stuff, but I made a cover that I'm pretty proud of. If I can do it, you can too.

Now for today's post:

My New Year’s Resolution was to read 44 books. That’s about a book a week. Just the other day, I was scrolling through my Goodreads account and realized something that changed the way I look at being a novelist.

Most of us view being a novelist as one of the greatest things we can do with our lives… at least, I did. It’s below being a surgeon or the president, but we fantasize about the day we can tell people we wrote a bestseller and they will be speechless with awe.

We define ourselves by our writing, we labor for years for our books, and we think life will be meaningless if we do not achieve our goal to shine before the world in literary magnificence.

I realized while looking at my Goodreads account that we might live for our books, but readers don’t. A novel only takes a week to read. After a few days, readers put the book down, pick up someone else’s book, and move on with their lives.

Being a novelist will always be my greatest aspiration. I still have my high dreams; I hope my book will be memorable. I hope everyone will enjoy it and that many people will be touched by it, and maybe it will stick with a few readers forever. But knowing that a book only takes a few days to read…

…it’s humbling.

Once when I was a kid, my dad thought I was taking my writing way too seriously (which was true). He asked me, “How many books have you read that changed your life?” Not many. Then he asked about my friends and family. “How many of them have changed your life?”

I was about to write that life is what happens when you’re away from the computer, but that’s not true. Life is in all the things you do. 

By the way, I said never to make promises on your blog because you can never predict the future, and then I broke my rule and said I would only post a couple times a week. Here I am weeks later posting everyday. So, let me reiterate what I said before:

No promises, no excuses, no apologies, no regrets.


  1. One afternoon, I made a cut and paste mock cover for my book. It looks like a terrible kindergarten art project. Still, it was fun.

    I'll have to check out the cover contest.

  2. Awesome.
    Too awesome.

    Very's true, we work so hard to produce work and we live with it, breathe with it, and want other people to care about it as much as we do. In a way it's like we want to be seen, since all writing is a reflection of our soul.

    I suppose the other way of thinking about it could be that even though it's easy to read a novel, the story does stick to the heart- for some a bit more than others. But the story will always be there, won't it? Even after the pages have stopped turning and teh book has been filed away to gather dust on a too-full shelf, it'll stay hidden at the back, or front, of the mind. Of all the novels you've read, I'm sure you'll keep the parts that impacted you in your memory and use them to bolster your spirit, whether you consciously realize it or not.

    Well, in any case, I know that this blog is now a part of my memory and I will pull it out of its filing in my brain and review it from time to time (and you know it's getting bookmarked like a minute ago).

    Thank you for writing and sharing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. The way I look at it is in terms of potential. Let me start with an example: I've become a huge Garth Nix fan since I first read Sabriel (I realize I talk about his book all the time, but I love it that much). Now, Sabriel didn't change my life per se; it wasn't supposed to. However, it did change my life as a writer. Because of that book, I have a better idea of what kind of writer I want to be, of what kinds of books I want to write. It also showed me the potential of books that aren't necessarily supposed to change lives--they're still important and still powerful!

    So even if my book(s) don't necessarily change lives, I can still hope that they might someday help another young writer. And who knows, maybe my books will inspire the writer who WILL change lives through his or her books.

  4. This is a very good point. I had never thought about it that way. I just love your blog and so enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!

  5. Hey! I really like your blog so I gave you two awards over at mine at! :)

  6. Thank you so much, Alyssa! I'm glad you like it here!


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