Here is an email I received recently from Matt Ramsden - an aspiring author who, incidentally, is from my old stomping grounds right outside Boston. In fact, I am including both Matt's email to me and my response to him. Why? Because it's easier to do that than to write an actual blog post. But also, because this exchange shows two sides to the same problem - and gives all of us some insight and some thoughts to chew on.
I have just finished your novel, The Great Lenore, and all I can truly say is thank you. You have rekindled a passion in me. I am a writer as well and it has been a very long time since a story has left me so breathless and desiring of beauty and art. The novel truly is one of the most gorgeous works of art I have ever beheld. I hope one day I can meet you in person and discuss literature and writing and life and beauty and all of what makes up our existance. In my opinion, you are one of those people whose opinion on these subjects I actually want to know. In the note you leave to the reader, you say, "This book is for you." I feel privileged and honored to have this book for myself. I truly did fly upon reading it. No words can truly explain how much this novel has restored my faith in my craft and my dreams. Simply put: once again, eternally and for always, thank you so very much.
I wish I could convey what this email meant to me when I read it, but I cannot - within the structured space provided by email - dig into the depths of where I am right now and where your email met me. Suffice it to say: even authors run into what you, as an aspiring author, mentioned you have run into: a passion in need of rekindling; a restoration of faith in the craft and the dreams.
I will warn you of this: once you become an author, it is very easy for literature to become a "business." Never let it become a business. Once your thinking slips into that land of darkness, it's a tough journey out. Keep writing for the love of it. And of course, keep writing!
How about you, Dear Writer?
Does your passion ever need rekindling?
Have you ever required restoration in your faith in the craft?
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