It is a difficult thing that writers and creators do. Not just the craft of writing, but the way it ties into who we are and how we relate to others.
For the novelists I work with, their stories tend to reflect an entire universe that they see in their mind. So many times I have spoken with writers about how deeply they care for their characters, or how those characters won’t stop talking to them. Of course, the writer must create an entire world around these them as well: the towns, the people, the rules, the context. That world has an infinite number of corners. Who this writer is, the narratives that play in their mind, the actions they cause their characters to take, can often reflect on deeply personal ways the author sees — or want to see — who they are, and who we are. What novelists do is magical, I’m in awe of how an author creates them.
For memoir writers I work with, they are sharing something deeply personal. They are allowing us in to their inner world, and perhaps into the lives of those who they love deeply. Memoir operates in this fascinating space that is a bit autobiography, a bit like a novel in how the story is crafted, and a bit like nonfiction because it is common for the reader to pull incredible life lessons from it. I have read memoirs from authors I work with that I read as if it were a novel. The stories were so well crafted, the narrative arc so beautiful, that it just sucked me into that world. I am always fascinated by what memoir writers do, there is something so delicate to it, so brave about it, and so potentially life-changing for those who read it.
For the nonfiction authors, they are often taking a deep personal experience, expertise, or passion, and helping others to embrace or grow within them. These books open up entire worlds for people. To dig deep into a biography, to finally learn a skill, to understand a time and place you never experienced, these books expand who we are. I always love looking at someone’s personal library of nonfiction books. Seeing where their mind goes when they are learning. How they are trying to grow. What they would love to talk about endlessly for hours. For the nonfiction author, they are demystifying a complex world, and opening up pathways for people. I mean, who couldn’t love that?
Of course, there are many other forms of books and writing, some of which completely defy easy categorization. It will be no surprise to you that this is why writers and creators inspire me. They create something out of nothing every day, and can choose to fit within, or outside of, our existing culture and expectations at will.
I often consider the work I do, and its value in the world. I don’t necessarily help a writer write a better book, though I do sometimes do that by accident. Just yesterday, a writer shared with me that I may have inadvertently helped them determine the next book they will write. My whole life I have surrounded myself with creators, and this is why. The inception for an idea happens when you least expect it.
I help writers and creators share their work. To feel that this idea that started in their mind, could possibly reach someone else, and forge a place of deep meaning or respite in their lives.
I want to ensure my work is truly helping make people’s lives better. That, when I look back on 12 years of doing this full-time, there is a body of work and accomplishments in the lives of writers’ lives that I am proud of. In considering this, I become enamored again with what it means to write and create. Which is why I am writing this now.
Today, I simply want to thank you for writing and creating. For sharing who you are. For exploring what can be.
And thank you for being here with me.