If You Write A Book In The Forest…
If you write a book in the forest, and no one is there to read it, does it tell a story?
The question’s not as existential as it sounds. I know, because I ask it a lot these days, and I’m a practical sort of person.
I’m well into the third and final book in my series and, more and more, I see how hard it is to compete (yes, compete, don’t you hate that?) for readers. So, I’m starting to wonder if I’ve actually accomplished what I set out to do – not simply to write a few books, but to tell the “story that needed to be told” as someone once called my work.
Let me ask you: Is it enough for you to simply write? Or do you need to be read? (And I’m not saying “sell”, which is another subject entirely.)
In other words, do you call yourself a “writer” because you produce .doc files on your computer? Or do you call yourself one because you’ve completed a book, and you can’t keep up with the demand to appear at book club meetings? Or do you differentiate between “writer” (the former) and “author” (the latter), as I sometimes do?
Like me, do you need to have shared the intimacy of your thoughts with others before you can feel that you’ve done the job – because your story’s been told, your point of view’s been expressed? Because for me, the story’s the thing. Or said another way – the writing has to be good but it’s only the wagon that I hitch my story to. The coattails I ride. It’s the body, not the soul. It’s flesh, not spirit.
For me, the whole point of taking up writing in the first place, from the very first word that went down in the very first draft, was to tell a story.
Hmmmm??….a big question for a sunny afternoon when I should be working.
So… here’s something I’ve learned through the process of writing…and I thought I’d pass it along: If you write a book in the forest, and no one is there to read it, it can tell a story. Just maybe not the one you expected
This surprising story seems to come from nowhere. It grows in your mind in the hours you spend at the keyboard and when you lie awake at night worrying about plots and character. That’s when what you thought was the story becomes a more interesting story – the story about what the work does to you, and what it makes of you. And that story gets told, not by you, but to you, and in ways you least expect.
Happy writing, friends. And happy endings.