I have some character beginnings for the new story and ideas for the beginning of the plot. I've handed the end of my last one off to my alpha-reader and I read this: WHY DO I WRITE AT ALL by Nicola Morgan.
I know I'm not going to make a million dollars with my writing. I am not Stephen King, or J.K. Rowlings, or Stephanie Meyer. I don't want to be. The people I admire more are much less well known, and not literary either. Kim Harrison. Jim Butcher. Keri Arthur. Patricia Briggs. Barry Hughart. Mike Resnick (though I've only ever read Santiago, that book has been on my shelf since 1989. I had a different name back then.) Others from that time period, still on my shelves, are The Unlikely Ones by Mary Brown and Eldrie the Healer: The Bastard Princess, Volume 1 by Claudia J. Edwards. I loved Piers Anthony and Robert Asprin.
Their stories have allowed me to live a thousand lives in the one that I have. And showed me the path for creating a thousand more of my own. I write for the same reason I considered being a teacher and a librarian.
The first words to come to mind are to give back, but I suppose since I'm not offering particularly to those people, the movie term is more accurate. To pay it forward. To offer those lives to others, the dreams, the hopes, the everything that is often contained in a book.
Like Nicola - unless I'm terribly confused and completely misunderstood - I don't write and struggle through query letter and agent information trying to figure out this whole publishing world so I can have millions of adoring fans struggling to breathe the same air as me, but rather to offer a new world to someone who needed one, preferably at the right time to remind them of hope. That [t]here are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Silly, I know, because there's a chance I'd never know I'd made that difference, but I can imagine that too. I'm sure I do every time I finish a story. Most of you probably do too.