I just ordered the proof for the paperback version of The Soul Forge! It should be here in about a week. I am so excited to actually hold it in my hands and see the words I wrote in print in front of me. There's just something about a printed novel that makes it all seem real somehow, like I'm actually a real writer and not just pretending to be one.
I've noticed that I have a lot of insecurity as a writer. Even after all of the dozens upon dozens of fanfiction stories I've written over the years, and now all of the original novels, I still have trouble believing in myself as a writer. I need a lot of reassurance. Maybe that will change someday, although a part of me sort of hopes that it doesn't. Because every note of feedback that I get, every time a reader lets me know they read one of my stories, is immeasurably precious to me, and I don't want that feeling to ever change. It lets me know that I'm not writing in a vacuum, that something I created actually managed to touch someone in some way, and that knowledge is all I really need to keep going.
I think that's why a lot of us become writers and artists: to touch other people, to share the visions we carry around inside of us with others in the hopes that they, too, will be moved by them and thrilled by that glimpse into another world, another life. I still remember writing stories as a child (that I was never brave enough share with anyone) and having the amazing feeling of walking on an alien world, of feeling the warm skin of a dragon underneath my hands as I rode it through the skies in the stories I was imagining. Even back then, I longed for the ability to share those dreams with others, to make them feel what I felt and to share in that wondrous feeling of adventure and exploration with me.
There are days I'm not convinced I've succeeded, but I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep writing my stories, and sharing them, and hoping that there are those who will share in even a fraction of the enjoyment I get out of writing them. Because that's what it's all about: sharing, and going on this journey together. You can't have a writer without a reader, and vice versa. We're all in this together.