Well Worth-It Words
While visiting a well-known mega bookstore the other evening, I’m not sure if I was more overwhelmed by the idea of trying to read all of the books that captivate me—or write one that would not only get published but find its way onto someone’s radar amid billions of billions of other printed words.
Others have tasted that joy; I have not as of yet, at least when it comes to a solo manuscript project. I find it easy to look at the endless titles spread across the retail space and wonder, “Could I really add something new to the conversation already taking place?” That is the writer’s question. The reader in me asks, “How much should I be reading on a topic before actually acting on what I’m reading?” and “How much of my learning is just for the sake of learning?”
I feel a sense of humility and awe when someone not only reads this blog but leaves a comment on it. I’m not sure if anyone can fully calculate the active number of blogs on a given day, a figure that will surely be outdated by the next day. Technology has empowered and liberated many to have a published voice, and yet the amount of hours each of us can devote to reading (print or digital or via cell phone) has not increased and in many cases has diminished. So to have a reader—and, especially, a commenter—is a precious thing. No pressure!
Therefore, the question is: Amid so many voices expressing themselves through words across multiple mediums, what is worth saying and what is worth reading?
The answer, I believe, lies within the layers of the writer/reader’s current season of life. I passed dozens of books that seem irrelevant now and barely earned a glance, and others whose jacket copy I took the time to peruse. A few others I carried around the store for an hour or so, giving them a fair consideration while drinking a cup of hot green tea. There is always, for both time and economic reasons, the culling down process. What do I really need to read right now, and can I get this book in the library instead?
I think the decision of what to write is far less strategic in terms of time and money, but certainly applicable to the flow of the current season. We write the thing we must write at the moment, whether we are tapped into a popular trend or not. Technology has unleashed countless voices because we each have things we must share—even if no one is reading or listening
Often, when the urgency to write is coupled with the skill and time to write, the radars of the masses can be invaded with at least a few minutes of relevance. No one can tell the story quite like you can, and the reader browsing the brick-and-mortar shelves or the cyber bookstore instinctively knows when you have unknowingly reached out and touched them. For them it is sort of like, as Victor Hugo might say, touching the face of God.
So let your words flow forth, and accept the ones you need to hear and read at this moment. The ubiquity of published material does not diminish the timeless worth of words well shared.