Writing a book is lonely.
Being creative is fun, and the creativity itself is its own reward. Or else no one would follow through on creative projects.
But writing a book can certainly be a lonely pursuit. Also, writing is hard.
Often, you are doing so on faith. In yourself, that you’ll get it done right and well, That you’ll say what you want and need to say. And in future readers, that they’ll see what you’ve done and appreciate and understand it.
There’s a reason people who don’t write–or follow other creative avenues–will say, to those who do, “You should get a real job.” It is because these people see art as something done to while away hours. To them, a good life is a life where one has enough money to provide for their loved ones, does their work, and comes home tired at the end of the day, knowing their paycheck is their good and just–if not always high-paying–reward.
Authors, artists, and actors, on the other hand: sure, we’d love to get paid for what we do. Because we, too, like to, and must, eat. Some get paid quite handsomely. Most… do not. But for us the bigger reward is in the work we’re doing, the messages we spread, the pages we gray, and in knowing that, in the world right now, someone is reading our words. Someone is watching our films. Someone is being ever-so-slightly changed by something we put into the universe that would not exist if we hadn’t first thought it into being.
This weekend, a surprise party was held at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I did not know the party was happening. Because the surprise party was for me, in celebration of the release of my long-in-the-works novel, What Death Taught Terrence. https://smile.amazon.com/Death-Taught-Terrence-Derek-McFadden/dp/1733396314/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Derek+McFadden&qid=1582546064&sr=8-1
A good friend of mine from back east, the author Bradley Harper, stayed with us for the weekend to attend what I thought was a business meeting for which he’d flown in. Again, surprise party. I had no idea.
But I got to show Brad around my neck of the woods. We ate more food this weekend than I’ve eaten in the last three weeks combined. And then, just before the “business meeting,” which was, of course, the surprise party, Brad said to me, “You know, you’re a very lucky man.”
I agreed, though I thought the comment a tad out of place. This was about his business meeting. Other than the fact that I was attending and deeply support his work, it was not about me.
As I walked into my surprise party, to find out it was all about me, filled with friends–some of whom I hadn’t seen in years–I was so glad Brad said what he did. Not just because he was right, not just because I needed to hear it, but frankly because it was what my grandfather, my Papa Dick, would have said to me, if he were still alive. Since he’s not, my Papa sent a trusted friend to speak those words in his place.
I thank them both.
And I thank you, dear reader. Authors would be nothing without the eyes and ears and touches (should you read in braille) that allow you to take in our words. And, for us, aside from the occasional surprise parties or, if we’re lucky, awards, your reading our work is the reward that follows the reward of pure creation which spurred us on.