I mean sure, I thought “Haven’t posted on the ol’ bjournal in a while, haven’t had a lot to say” but I didn’t realise that it’s been literally years.
I have something to say now. It’s not a big thing. It is, in fact, a little thing. But I want to say it, so I will.
Last night I was checking something in Charlotte Powers 4, for the sake of continuity mostly—
On that subject (to digress briefly) there was an enormous, mortifying continuity error in the Charlotte Powers books that caused me to have an actual catapult nightmare-style reaction/realisation moment. I wasn’t asleep at the time I realised the error. I was proofing. Even so. Horrifying to the point of actual physical pain. I fixed it but I’ll always know it was there.
—so I was checking something in Charlotte Powers 4, for the sake of continuity in the new Charlotte Powers book I’m working on, and I noticed something odd. I’d marked a line, which I often do when proofing, but this wasn’t a proof copy of the book. This was the actual live published edition. Why would I mark a line for proofing in a book I’d already published? Once my books have been released to the wild I can barely stand to look at them, much less proof them again. So what was this?
It was, in fact, someone else’s highlighted line. The highlighted line of three distinct someone elses, to be accurate. Three people out there in this weird world of ours who thought these words I had arranged in this particular order were worth, I don’t know, more than just looking at with their eyes.
I’ve been in this game a while now. Coming up on six years. I’ve published fourteen books. None of them sell. Even just writing those four words I’ve already bored myself. My position, as regarding writing, is that I write the stories I want to exist and I make them as good as I’m able to make them, and if other people also want them to exist then fantastic. Otherwise I don’t much mind. I’m aware that there are things I could maybe do to maybe sell more books and I’m aware that there are changes I could make to maybe make my books more generally appealing, but I’m lazy and stubborn and tired and socially anxious and don’t like being looked at and maybe I actually like being a least-selling author. It has its perks.
The thing is, though, that writing for yourself and not really selling any books and being largely unread, you’re alone. You create worlds and characters and you probably have pretty strong feelings about them—I mean, I care about Charlotte. I care about the world she lives in. But nobody else in this world does. It’s not as if it’s a popular series and people talk about it and speculate and write fanfiction and ship the characters and so on. My books are cold, because stories need readers to make them warm.
These highlighted lines were a flicker of warmth. They were a connection, an echo, a feeling reflected. The whole thing hit me pretty hard, to be honest. I got a bit teary. I felt some emotions. I smiled and winced and smiled again. I went through my other books and found other highlighted lines, including one of a gag I always really liked but—until that moment, years after I wrote it—felt fairly alone in doing so.
Like I said, it’s a little thing. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing important to anyone but me.
But to me, to me, it meant something.
So what I want to say is, thank you.