“The Year of the Author”

Where were you on New Year’s Eve 2022-2023? I was on a cruise ship, a place I’d never dreamed of being when I watched the ball drop from 2021-2022! I traveled with a friend and, as the new year approached, we reflected on what went well in 2022, what we wished had been better, and what we hoped for 2023. I won’t go into all the details, but I shared that my hope for 2023 is easily summed up with the moniker, “The Year of the Author.”

Then I watched the ball drop, drank my champagne, and called it a night.

That was a week ago.

Now here I am and you’ve read this before, or at least something similar. (See Jan 9, 2022) My hope is that my yearning to write has overcome my fear of readers. Or rather, I know from journaling that better writers get that way by writing. I miss writing. Yet, it has been readers that have both compelled me to write and repelled me from writing.

In 2022, I read 78 books! I never dreamed I would. In fact, my original goal for 2022 was 60 books, including one fiction for every four “Christian”/vocational/non-fiction. Five a month seemed like a manageable goal to improve my skills as a leader. Little did I expect that it would fan the flame of desire to write again…consistently.

And, I did journal consistently in 2022. But it was while reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918  that I came across a comment attributed to one of them that said something about how writing for oneself was fine but writing is meant for readers to read. I didn’t have a highlighter and I didn’t know that the comment would be significant. (I’ve scoured the book since to find the direct quote unsuccessfully.)

Yet, the comment left me considering my fear of readers. Because, truth be told, my passion for writing is based upon a desire to craft something that a reader will understand and, when suited, identify with or laugh at or encourage them to face their own day.

One of these days, I’ll re-read the aforementioned book and find the quote that lit the fuse to my return to public writing. There are a lot of quotes attributed to CS Lewis, yet this one, the one I cannot find, has reminded me that there was a time I delighted in public writing nearly everyday and I did not fear readers.

Writing is meant for readers to read.

Let it be my mantra for 2023: The Year of the Author.

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