Part Twelve: Community

After thousands of hours, multiple drafts, rewrites, recasts, painful cuts, alternative endings— I was able to put the keyboard down. The work was imperfect as we all are imperfect, but it was finished. I felt a sense of pride in the accomplishment, then a measure of panic. I no longer had an excuse. “I’m still working on it…” was no longer a valid answer when asked how the book was coming. It was time to put it out there.

I won’t pretend to call myself a writer or an artist. I am an amateur who writes as a hobby. But I can understand how an artist or writer might feel when they put their work on display. You are exposed, every flaw, every blemish. It takes courage to subject yourself to scrutiny. It takes courage to welcome feedback from complete strangers. It takes courage to act as if you belong.

It also takes a great amount of trust, not just in your ability but in the hearts and minds of those who read your work. This could double as a referendum on the state our society is in… where discourse over the internet has made kindness harder and harder to find.

In my short experience…this literary world is full of kind, compassionate people. They are a community, a community of people no more like-minded than in any other aspect of our society. Yet they are bound together with a love of reading and a desire to get their word into the world.

Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, allauthors etc…etc… communities within communities. Here, if you look closely, you will find people selflessly working a lighthouse to help other authors find their way in the storm. Participate. Engage. Ask. It will take work to promote yourself, just like every other step on this journey. But start first with the community. Promote others. Read the works of others and hope they will do the same. Don’t worry— you got this!

Thanks for reading.

Salt and Ruin,

-Brandon

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