Dedicated to my friend Gerald Eubanks, may he rest in peace.
Nearly 4 million new book titles are produced each year if we count both self-published and traditionally published authors.
How in the world can that be possible? If we supposed (and this is NOT a realistic supposition, I know) that each book is 60,000 words on average, that’s 240 BILLION words being shared in a year.
About $14 billion dollars will be spent this year on non-fiction titles alone and this number does not include self-published titles which generally sell less than 100 copies ever. Some of those are self-help or how-to books, but most of that industry fits into the memoir/biography/autobiography categories.
For a writer, the words we generate, massage, revise, and polish to a high-gloss shine are often cathartic to us in some sense whether we are writing a book meant to educate others or we are writing a book meant to provide entertainment.
Education and entertainment are both worthy reasons to write. I know authors who’ve received emails to thank them for writing a story that helped a reader through a very long, rough night in a hospital waiting room. Others get a thank you note for that information or insight that changed the reader’s perspective.
I know top-of-their-field doctors who write poetry to level out the high stress levels; top scientists who write sci-fi novels to create the endings they long to see; nurses who work sixty-hour weeks who pen romance novels on their meal breaks.
Some of us are healed by the words we read. Some of us are healed by the words we write. It is true that words have great power indeed. Whether our words are written or spoken, it’s always important to remember that. My friend Gerald knew that and whether he was administrating, teaching, or leading a public event, he was conscious that his words had the power to change people.
The challenge is – and I hope you’ll take up this gauntlet – to have your words heal and not hurt others. To offer encouragement as well as education. To offer truth with kindness and compassion and without judgement.
We are wordsmiths, certainly. We can be advocates for peace and greatness if we choose to be.
Keep writing and reading! And don’t forget to review what you’ve read!