Look. I’m going to be really frank here, because I think we’ve been friends long enough that I can do that. And if we haven’t, I hope you’ll bear with me for a minute, because this is really important.
If there is an author in your life, and that person happens to be important to you on ANY level, but especially in a familial or close relationship, there are some things you should know.
I’ve avoided this subject for a while, for various reasons, one of them being an inherent belief that I have no business telling someone how to love anyone else. But in a recent moment of clarity, I realized that that is not what I’m about to do. What I’m telling you isn’t how you should love them, but rather, the most important way you ought to be showing that love. Because authors are emotional, sensitive people who pour those emotions and those sensitivities into our work for the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD to read.
What we write is so much more than just words on a page, or a screen, or in a book. These stories often come from the very depth of our souls, distributing pieces of ourselves to everyone who reads them. Luckily, for every slice of ourselves we give away, we grow new, grander ones to share.
Since we are writing to share our deepest, most intimate souls, the hope is we will be joined in this special place by our closest, most beloved people in the world. Our spouses. Our children. Our parents, siblings, extended families, and closest friends.
Because our stories mean so very much to us, it’s difficult to understand why our loved ones wouldn’t be absolutely dying to read our newest (or oldest) work. But all too often, our loved ones aren’t even interested. And that lack of interest, of support—to us—translates to a lack of personal value.
If you love an author—for whatever reason and in whatever capacity—read their work. I don’t care if you buy it, tweet it, Facebook it, share it, talk about it, or even review it (all of which you should ALSO be doing, but that’s another blog). READ IT. Do not offer explanations or excuses about why you “can’t” or tell them you’ll get to it when you have more time (next year, perhaps?). You might as well be telling them you “can’t” find the time to love them. (And let’s not talk about how short life really is here.)
FACT: Time it takes the average author to write a book = 6 months to one YEAR .
FACT: Time it takes the average reader to read that same book = 4-6 HOURS (7 if it’s long or you’re a slow reader).
FACT: The average American wastes approximately that much time every week (if not every day) watching TV and/or surfing the internet.
If you love an author, value the time they have spent dedicating themselves to their stories. Read his or her work. Do not make excuses. We are smart people. And you are missing out on the best parts of us.
And that, my dear friends, would be the saddest story of all.