A couple of famous half-truths about writing, corrected as necessary:

I hate writing, I love having written.–Dorothy Parker

The second part of this is gospel. Having written is pure pleasure. But I don’t buy the first part. Writing is difficult but it shouldn’t be torment. If the process makes you that unhappy, you should probably be doing something else.

He who does not expect a million readers should not write a line.–Goethe

I keep this quote on a bulletin board right next to my computer, even though its reasoning goes nowhere. The thing is, every writer, openly or secretly, expects a million readers, not to mention rave reviews, movie deals, a prize or two, and immortality. These are sustaining fantasies, and I would feel both awe and pity for any writer who managed to produce without them. We have to believe those things. Otherwise, where would we find the chutzpah to choose the next word, the faith to tell the story?

So–do I expect a million readers? Yes and no. Some days I lean hard on that fantasy, some days it doesn’t seem to matter much. Reading, after all, is something that people usually do alone, and I feel privileged to connect with an audience of any size, one person at a time. There’s an intimacy to the connection, a quiet. So I’m grateful to each solitary reader who has taken an interest in my work. Thanks!

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