In January when my coworker told me she was reading my first book, The Wounds That Don’t Bleed, I was more than a little nervous. She’s the type of woman who I look up to–clever, intellectual, and an avid reader–the type of person who knows good fiction from bad and isn’t afraid to tell you about it.
Although I genuinely believe that my book is special, I didn’t think that she would. I imagined her reading several chapters, then smiling sheepishly as she slid it into the “to donate” pile. She’d surely never mention it again, and her silence would tell me all that I needed to know.
When she approached me several weeks later to tell me that she not only read my book but genuinely enjoyed reading it, I was floored. It wasn’t the first conversation I’d had with someone who enjoyed my work. I was stopped by an elderly woman at a park once who said that she had read it three times and that I better release another one (I’m working on it!).
Still, I can’t help but be surprised by the impact that my book has on people. The greatest impact of all is not the fact that by some miracle more than just my mom picked up a copy. The miracle is what comes after they read it, when the conversation leads to: “And you’ve inspired me to follow my dreams!”
There it is. The true reason why I, like so many others, love to write. Writing has the power to create positive change. To inspire others to imagine their lives as they wish they would be, and to go after whatever is in their heart. In this case, my coworker said she would like to start writing a book, my best friend released a collection of poems, and another friend signed up for a writing workshop.
It would’ve been easier to have never published a book at all. I’m shy. I don’t like having attention on me. It’s hard work.
But, if I’d never followed my dreams, I never would’ve motivated others to do the same–This would’ve been worse than any fear I’d initially felt.
We all need someone to push us forward. To encourage us to strive for what we aspire to do. Be that person for somebody else. Do what seems impossible so that others may do the same. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to try.
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