Writing is courage.
There is first the courage of facing the blank page, and by extension, your own true self.
The second is the bravery it takes to share that multiplicity of selves with others and the world, knowing that your book-selves will likely face endless rejections.
Then there is the courage you need in the afterglow.
This is the moment after the book launch has come and gone: the 4 a.m. dregs of the party. Sales numbers and ranks go up and down, like little bodies on the ends of teeter-totters. From a living thing your creature becomes a two-dimensional image on a screen, flickering past wandering eyes.
This is the moment when all perspective is lost, where every little blip on the map is inevitably going to be read wrong.
This is the moment when your courage could fail you – success or no, good reviews or no – as you sit down and face the latest writing project.
Have I learned enough as a writer – hell, as a human being? What if I’ve forgotten how to write? What if the marketing is just not going to work?
More than the tarry burns of the starry fire, the afterglow is the sword that hangs over your head, asking whether you’re worthy to stand on the shoulders of the giant writers all around you.
You face another blank page. You are a soldier in a war of words – a war without guns.