I’m often told that writing is a gift, but I’m not so sure about that. You see, anyone can write if they dedicate enough time to it, but not everyone receives positive feedback. For me, the gift comes from readers’ compliments. I find this far more rewarding than any financial gain.
I consider myself fortunate to write as a sideline. While I take my writing very seriously, I don’t concern myself with making a living at it. I write novels for enjoyment, and compose non-fiction articles when there is a need. I applaud those who earn a living writing novels because the competition is fierce. If I had to write for a living, I would probably stick with magazine articles because they pay up front. The problem is characters never come to life in non-fiction.
Recently, I attended my twelfth Men of Mystery event in Irvine, California. It is always magical spending time with mystery fans and meeting other mystery authors and it is truly a privilege to be invited back. Many of the attendees have become friends and have recommended my books to their friends. I am always flattered when I hear this, but the real beauty in attending is hearing positive feedback directly from my fans.
This year one lady came up to me at my signing table and said she bought Danger Within for her son. She started reading it to make sure it was suitable for him and said she couldn’t put it down. Her son didn’t get it until she had read it all the way through. Another lady spent several minutes talking about how she loved the characters in Writer’s Block. She was happy to hear its sequel would be out next year. I have never received a bad review or bad feedback, and I take pride in that. For me, positive compliments are the icing on the cake.
When authors write for the joy of it, they are more inclined to produce good work than those that face publisher deadlines. Not to say both aren’t possible, but deadlines can certainly take the joy out of writing. It is evident when a story begins strong and then wraps up in a flash because the author had run out of time. Whenever you write, never forget why you became an author, and never forget the gift that comes from your readers. Without them, our words are lost.