I tweeted earlier about something I learned from amazing author Tracy Hickman. I went to a writing seminar where he told a heartfelt story. (I’m just paraphrasing part of his powerful speech.)
He talked about how all of the meaning for a book is found by the reader. It takes more file space for a picture on your phone than it does for a whole novel (crazy!). The reader takes what you’ve written and creates meaning. In one of Tracy Hickman’s novels he writes about a character who’s a knight. When the great battle comes at the end of the novel, evil surrounds the knight, and he faces it alone. Sadly, he ends up dying. However, his death inspires other knights who end up fighting against the evil, and honoring the brave knight who stood on his own.
Tracy Hickman went to a book signing that was like none other he’d ever been to. At this signing there soldiers there who were going to Iraq, some that would not return home. He spoke about how difficult and emotionally draining book signings are, because every fan wants to have a personal connection with you. After so many people, he begins to feel numb and falls into a bland rhythm of greeting, signing, greeting, signing.
Someone came and presented him with an extremely torn, worn, and battered book to sign. The owner was a young man in a wheelchair. He told Hickman that his book had been with him through the ocean, jumped from airplanes, and anywhere else he went. The soldier had been in Afghanistan, and was shot in the spine. After he was shot, the first thing that came to mind was the brave knight from Hickman’s story. He asked himself what that brave knight would do. The soldier ended up warning the other men with him and saved 12 lives that day.
Hickman finishes saying that all he wrote were words. But those words meant so much to that soldier, it made him a hero. We never know what affect our words will have on the world. To inspire and change lives—that should be the reason why you write.
Thank you Tracy Hickman for the amazing story.