By Aaron Ritchey
I have monstrously grandiose way of thinking, which does not help me very much outside of writing fiction. For example, whenever anyone wants to introduce me to someone, I always assume they will be Hollywood gorgeous, man or woman. However, most people look so…normal.
Real life disappoints me most of the time.
There is one grandiose idea I find very disturbing.
I believe that some writers and some books were meant for greatness and part of me clings to the old idea of that grand destiny, the fantasy of writing a book, publishing it, and making millions of dollars overnight. Overnight, I have fame, fortune, and…
THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN.
Really, that’s what I want. I want THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN, God’s blessing on my writing career and on my book without going through the fear and work it takes to not only write a good book but to get it out into the world. It’s hard. Worse than that, it’s messy. And there are people in my life that look upon what I’m doing with a bemused grin. “Oh look, Aaron has another book out. He’s posting about it on Facebook. Isn’t that cute? Too bad he’s not a real author.”
Or maybe no one is doing that, but hey, I have that grandiose imagination. I can picture someone doing that, in Technicolor, so it’s real enough for me.
The reality of THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN is twofold. On the one hand, some writers and some books did seem destined for greatness. Their ride was smooth and their way into heaven greased. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. I get jealous. I beseech the gods. Why not me???
Because I just used three question marks. Probably.
The other side of the coin is that for most writers, it’s a game of perseverance and endurance. And large parts of the writing game is not sexy. Writing when you hate every word you type is not sexy. Getting your ass handed to you at your critique group week after week is not going in the victorious montage scene.
Worse yet, other people start making headway and envy roars! Like a Katy Perry song, my brothers and sisters.
Then I have the smirking clown on Facebook laughing at my every effort. Yeah, him, I hate that guy.
But it goes back to endurance, perseverance, and for me, I had to let go of the fantasy of some blessed writing career. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve had some good breaks, but it’s not my fantasy, believe you me. I still don’t have a literary agent. No lovin’ from Aaron from the world of traditional publishing.
What if I don’t have THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN?
It doesn’t matter. It’s not my job to second-guess God. It’s my job to write books and to get them published by any means necessary. It’s my job to do the grunt work and sweat of marketing and posting and all that. It’s my job to do all the unsexy parts and when people laugh at me? Well, if I have people who laugh and scoff at me, I know I’m doing something right.
Fashionable apathy is cool, trendy, hip—always has been and always will be. Being cynical is so much easier than hoping against hoping and writing books the world may or may not bless with money and a vast readership.
And if my books are damned to hell? Good. The best parts of Paradise Lost were about Satan anyway.
But I don’t believe any books or authors are cursed. I believe that since I have the desire to write books, I have a sacred duty to write those books.
That is all the mandate I need.