Every day, somebody steps off the ledge of security to follow a dream. Sadly, the landscape is littered with the decaying corpses of many a dream that has died. Many starve after they are deemed too difficult to maintain. Often, those dreams are treated by those closest to The Dreamer as brazen and filthy harlots that drag The Dreamer away from responsibility and duty. How many songs bemoan "the Boulevard of Broken Dreams"? Yet, like a siren's song, they beckon...and far too many unwary pursuers end up crashing on the rocks.
Not all who chase their dream are destined to fail. I am chasing a dream that so many share. I want to be a writer. Not just a person who has a few books out that are read by friends and family. Excuse me if I offend, but anybody can do that if they choose. I want to be read by thousands...millions. I want to walk into a coffee shop and see my book in somebody's hands, or hear two people chatting about it over dinner. I want to walk into a theater and see a preview for it during the "Coming Attraction" before the feature film or catch a commercial for it while I am watching HBO, AMC, or even the SyFy channel. Simply put...I want to hit the "Big Time" and achieve "Best Seller" status. I want to have sales numbers that match my KDP freebies. (To date, in 10 combined promo days, Zomblog has given away over 50,000 copies, doing over 10,000 in 48 hours on the average.)
Doesn't that seem to fly in the face of a lot of what I have said? That whole "write because you love it" thing and the "I don't want to write...I have to write!" Those are true. However, I would be lying to you and to myself if I did not admit that I covet the successful end of the spectrum. I am not afraid of fame or success. Odd as it seems, there are many people who are terrified of those two states of being. It can be a scary thing to some. By nature, many writers are not all that gregarious. They were the wallflowers or the kids picked last in gym class...so they turned to books. Some are very uncomfortable in the spotlight and might lack certain social skills due to years of introversion. Let's face it...that is why the social media is their haven. Give a writer a keyboard and remove the actual interpersonal interactions of true relationships and they are in their realm of comfort.
In April of this year, 2012, I walked away from my "day" job. My book sales had reached a point where I could pay my bills. It was time to step off the ledge. I am fortunate that I am married to somebody who accepts my "mistress" without feeling threatened by it. With several of my books reaching triple-digit sales each month (versus triple-digit totals for the year like they did in 2011) it was time to see if I could do this.
So, why do I write? After all...isn't that what I said this whole column was going to reveal. Truthfully? Ego. For me there is no greater rush than when I get an email or letter saying that I made a person laugh or cry with nothing more than my words on paper. When I have people who make a comment about one single line in my book that they say "touched their heart" or made them feel just a bit queasy. I write because I love hearing I have become somebody's favorite. I write because I get a thrill when a story takes a turn that I never saw coming. (Like I said earlier...I don't use an outline.) When a complete stranger thinks enough of my work to spend the time to write a review like this: "I have never been moved to write a review for the products that I have purchased on Amazon or any other site before. But after reading this book, and several others from Mr. Brown. I cannot put it off any longer.I have read several zombie books that are of good quality, and even more that were.... well to be honest, downright sucked. I saw this book on Amazon and decided to give it a shot. Well, I must tell you that as far as I am concerned, after reading Mr. Brown's books I have placed him as one of the best writers for me. I devour his books at every chance I get. I will give up sleep just to read more of his work. ... Mr. Brown has done what most authors cannot do, or have a hard time doing. And that is making me believe that this is happening. I can see this playing out in real life if this was to happen.I truly wish this author the most success available for him, simply because the more success he gets the more of his craft I will be able to enjoy. I know he reads these reviews, and I want him to know that I consider his work, his craft, his ability as a writer to be one of the greats. Thank you for sharing your story Mr. Brown." I could share a hundred other such things...some from reviews, others from emails or letters. THAT is why I write. When somebody says that about your work...about what you do for a living...it is a wonderful feeling. Many people long to hear those sorts of things at a job they hate or can barely tolerate. Can you imagine what it feels like to hear that about something that you do because you love it? I may not be wealthy yet...but I am richer now than at any point in my life. Is it scary at times? Sure. But I wouldn't give it up for anything. I get to say something every day that so few can utter as they head off to work. "I am doing what I love."