I used to worry, a lot, about the balance between the amount of readers in the world and the amount of writers. I used to worry that the former would outstrip the latter, and that readers would eventually stop reading because writers would run out of stories. I used to fear that writers would, in their desperation, start recycling too much material which had already been told, from every possible angle. The thought that nothing was left to say – nothing original, nothing new – used to keep me from trying to create something, or even thinking about stories. This fear was exacerbated in the last short while, when I really jumped into this writing/reading world with both feet; I realised, for instance, just how many blogs and Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are out there concerning themselves with reading and books. (FYI: There are lots). Everywhere I looked I seemed to see more and more and more readers, desperate for newness, unwilling to accept sub-standard stories, passionate about reading but highly critical of the material they were being expected to read.
Then, the fear began to set in. I looked at my WiP, and wondered if it was derivative, boring, clichéd, nondescript, unreadable. I wondered if there was anything new in it, anything worth reading, anything worth spending a little money (and a little time) on. I’m still not sure what the answers to all those questions are, but I have come to one further realisation.
My story is mine – nobody else has ever written it. That gives it value. I don’t think it’s similar to anything else I’ve ever read – but I’m a long way from having read everything in the world! There are people out there who read so much, and are so knowledgeable about books and trends and fashions, that they leave me in the shade. And, to be honest, if my story ever finds its way into the hands of a person who has read their way to a level of expertise I can never hope to emulate, I’ll consider that a compliment in itself, no matter what their opinion of the story might be.
I’m also realising that for every story that gets told, there are thousands that don’t get told. Everything you do, and everyone you meet, tells a story; what’s more interesting is the story told by everything that’s left undone, and all the people who never meet. So, I’ve decided to stop being nervous that the world is going to run out of stories – and I’m hopeful that I’ll never run out of stories, either. Where there’s life, there’s hope – and where there’s life, there are stories.
Every second is an opportunity to create something, and your next good idea is only a thought away. I hope you have a creative and fulfilling weekend!