Silence. For a writer it is our greatest ally and our most cruel enemy.
In times of creativity and strong concentration Silence allows our thoughts to echo, giving us time and opportunity to reflect and review. It also gives us the chance to lay out about a thousand words per minute as the mind goes into overdrive and the thoughts flow like Niagara Falls in a warm summer afternoon. Silence is the companion that walks with us, holding our hands, quietly whispering “Go forward” with a nearly imperceptible nudge.
Yet, once the creativity stops, once the flow of ideas dams up, Silence becomes an imposing Overlord staring at us from its desk, waiting, demanding more. The moments of joy that sprung from developing our characters and seeding hints of our plot lines fade into oblivion as we stare back at Silence. Our own expectations pull up noisy rolling desk chairs and sit beside Silence to join it in quietly staring. Frustration joins our side of this epic staredown bringing coffee and doughnuts.
Okay, I’ll stop with the dramatics. All writers have those moments of quiet thought where the ideas almost write themselves on the page. And we all have those moments when we look at our stories and wonder how to connect all the dots, but end up doing nothing.
But there is a silence that writers know too well. The most nerve-wracking type of silence. Silence of the readers.
As a writer, we write for numerous reasons. Some want to be famous (good luck). Some want to put on paper the thoughts and worlds that flit to their minds. Some want to share stories. But every writer wants, craves, needs feedback.
We try not to ask. We try not to sound needy. But we place this hard thought, hard fought jewel that took us half a year or more to plan, create, plot, type, publish, and then present it to them. And all they say is, “I liked it.”
Did you like the characters? Did you like the story? Did you see the climax coming? Did you find the hidden hints about the possible sequel? What about that one line from that one character that I spent literally two weeks trying to perfect????
This is the silence that is the most infuriating and damaging to any writer. So, might I make a suggestion?
If you are a reader, please, go on to the author websites or to Amazon and rate and review the book. If you loved it, we want to know what you loved about it. If you hated it, we want to know what you hated about it. We need the feedback. We crave it like a six year old boy on a tee-ball team craves praise from his parents on how he performed. We need it like a bride needs to hear how beautiful she is on her wedding day.
If you are a writer, rate and review other books. You know you read, too, but as a writer you notice things that others might not see. Mention that stuff! It will put a grin on our faces for days (just like it would on yours). But I caution you not to comment as if you are a literary critic (unless you are). If you see some glaring problems that should never have made it through the editing process, please find the author’s page and e-mail them. We all could use a little help here and there. But if you place it in a review, it will still be there even after the author fixes it.
I realize that this is a bit scattered, but I don’t mind. At least I’m not being Silent about it.