“I don’t mean to hit you in the feels, but I have to share this with you and the community. My brother hates books, hates reading. He’s always had trouble with it, and he always felt like books were a world (really many worlds) he was locked outside of.
“In the last year he finally got new glasses and reading became a lot easier, he came to me and asked if I had anything lying around the house that he might be interested in reading. I handed him The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree and gave him an adapted Princess Bride speech: “swords, guns, torture, revenge, giant robot things, mad men with masks, chases, escapes, true love, miracles: you want it, this book has it.” I kinda backed away slowly, hoping for the best, but Devin hasn't read a book since high school.
“Over the next couple of weeks I started getting way more texts than usual: “I just got to the ocean monster,” “text me the name of that town they visit, I wanna name my city after it in Risk Legacy,” “I feel like the world is conspiring against me to finish the last few pages of this book. Every time I have a moment something has to happen! WTF!”
“I realized that he was going to need the second book before I’d find time to finish it, so I Primed it right to his house. He texts me the next day "Yeah that first book cliff hangs hard! Glad I can just pick up the next one, thanks sis." He wanted to write you a thank you letter, but he’s less confident with writing than he is with reading, so I got drafted.
“TLDR: My brother hasn't willingly opened a book in his whole 30 years, and your book, your writing just opened a thousand doors. He took WitTT with him EVERYWHERE until he finished it, and now he won’t shut up about it. He beat that book up so hard that he told me he ‘owes me a new, nice copy’.
That third eye opened in a dude’s mind *because of something I wrote.* That is utterly phenomenal. That’s the kind of thing that tells me I chose the right path by coming back to writing again and actually going through with it. There’s days when I don’t trust my footing in the dark house of my confidence that I need to go back and know this again.
I'm proud of Devin for choosing to pick up a book after all this time and stick with it to the end. I’m also proud of Sarah for supporting his interests by giving him a book…there should be more sisters and mothers and brothers and fathers in this world to further their siblings’ and children’s interests like that. I didn’t really have that growing up, and I wish I had.
And I'm proud of that guy I was 800,000 words ago, that desperate stupid heartbroken guy that thought he was cranking out garbage and did the work anyway. If it wasn't for that guy, I wouldn't be this guy now. If it weren’t for the therapeutic leylines running alongside my creative currents, maybe I wouldn’t be here at all.
So if you're reading this and you're a writer—or any kind of creative, really—don't give up.
Don't be afraid of letting people read what you've written, or see what you’ve painted. If you pour your heart and soul into it, someone will be affected by what you’ve written. If you build it, someone will come. (But you still have to build it. You can’t live in a blueprint. Write write write. Write all of the words.)
It is said that the first draft of everything is shit. It is shit. But keep pushing. The final draft might just give somebody out there something they never had before.