I've been intending to post for a few days, but have been tripped up by a hellacious cold which has put a damper on anything that requires use of brain cells. We're all doomed in these winter months by germs flying from person to person, waiting to invade our bodies and [what sometimes feels like] our souls as well. I know I'm down for the count when the very thought of picking up my laptop and opening a Word document exhausts me. My hands are shaking as I type this, probably from too much coffee and this fluctuating fever that just won't seem to leave me.
I had the privilege of taking an actual vacation after Christmas. My in-laws rented a house in Duluth, MN for a week, and I spent the better part of it playing Word Welder on my iPad [which, I'm warning you, is highly addictive] and reading Scott Westerfeld's Goliath. Goliath is the final book in Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy, a highly-acclaimed YA steampunk novel—or, as my brother-in-law better put it: alt-history. It had been more than a year since reading the first two books, but I was completely sucked into the story. And it really got me thinking about writing a novel versus reading one.
Reading a novel is like having a crush on someone. The more you get to know them, the deeper you get into the story, the more you want to know. While reading, I find myself torn between needing to know how it ends and not wanting it to end. The end of a book [especially if it's good] is almost like a let-down. Here you've invested all this time in something, you've fabricated emotions while delving into this ficticious word, and just like that, as you read the final page, it's over. It's as crushing as finding out the person you like more than anyone else in the whole world doesn't like you back.
Writing, however, is like falling in love. It's completely immersing yourself in a story the way you never can while reading. It's knowing the intricacies of every character, every plotline. It's not merely giving of yourself—it's getting back. It's knowing that every ounce of yourself you give up for the sake of creativity will live forever on paper, and that's something that no one, despite their opinions of your work, can ever take away. It's something you can keep forever, something you never have to leave. There is no end, because the story lives on in your mind forever and ever.
If you've always wanted to write a book, why not try it now? I won't lie to you and tell you it's easy, because it's not—it will be work. But the self-satisfaction you'll derive from it will make it all worth it in the end, especially when you make it to the end.