Updated: Jul 12
I stayed up late into the night, devouring The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, engrossed by the awe, maturity and knowing with which it was written. I swallowed every word, suddenly awake after a day on my feet, prepping food, tending garden and pandering to needy cats. Her descriptions of the Alaskan landscape were more than paint on canvas, they were a meld of all art, music and creative expression fused to cast picture-feelings through one’s consciousness. The pain of the characters elicited memories of my own wounds, their hopefulness bound me tighter to my dreams. I revisited my past, imagined my future and saw a world I would never be, but was somehow, now a part of. This book was everything, everywhere.
A good book keeps you reading. A great book makes you travel through time and space.
Early in, I’d scanned the list of Hannah’s other novels inside the cover, and knew I’d read each one.
When I look at authors like her, I wonder how they’ve done it. How one person can embody so many characters, locales, emotional dynamics and story lines. How did each sentence string itself out so beautifully? How can something with such immense detail become a reality? How did they do it?! And not just once, over and over. It all felt so huge.
As a writer, great books incited both deep inspiration and the worst insecurities.
The Comparison Trap.
I’ll never be that kind of writer, my go-to defense mechanism.
Maybe I wouldn’t, or simply wasn’t. I wrote the way I wrote. Could that be good enough?
I often questioned whether there was a space for me, my writing, the way I liked to say things. Messily, imperfectly. Not following the rules. I didn’t think Paulo Coelho followed the rules. He seemed to be in a place all his own, fiction crossed with spiritual meanderings. It worked.
Would my writing work?
I worried about the numbers. More acutely, the lack thereof.
I didn’t even bother with Twitter or Pinterest or TikTok or whatever the hell else was popping up. My energy for content creation on top of the real work had waned over the years, following the rise of Periscope and my first following that reached 1,000. I ran hard and blind and hit a wall. I stayed horizontal and hiding for half a decade to follow. I’m scared that my lack of consistency in “growing a following” will hold me back from the opportunities I dream of as an author. It feels backwards, and lacking in faith, and yet, I hear it often, from real people.
Rejection by numbers.
I relentlessly doubted, and kept writing, anyways.
A medium told me I would publish over 10 books and wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore.
When I let the dogged worry fade in moments of creating, it melted away like the most delicious grilled cheese, no longer edgy and cutting, now gooey, soft, benign. I believed. That all the ducks would line up, waddling in the right direction. Books would be published. Money made.
I’d be the kind of writer I am and that would be good enough.