Writing is not for the faint of heart. When I’m working on a novel I have days when the words and ideas flow as freely as a mountain stream after a hard rain. I have other days when my mind is bereft of the imagination and insight needed to move a story forward. The possibility that I will never again have an original thought, that I have nothing more to write about, is frightening.

The creative process can be painful, but I’m not here to whine about it. The real fun begins when the work is complete. Will anybody want to publish it? Will anybody want to review it? Will anybody buy it?

I think most authors are insecure about their work. I know I am. We all seek validation for our writing. It hurts to be rejected by a publisher. It hurts to receive a bad review. It hurts even more to receive no reviews. It hurts most of all when people don’t buy your book.

If you think the pain and the fear goes away when you reach a certain level of commercial success, I think you’re wrong. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the only thing that changes is the size of the stage. I think Stephen King still feels it in his gut when he gets a bad review from Kirkus or the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I think James Patterson must wonder if readers are finally sick of Alex Cross whenever sales for his latest thriller take a dip.

In August 2014, I began hosting an open house for authors on my Facebook page. Writers are invited to promote their work on my page the first five days of each month. There are no conditions or strings attached. Everyone is welcome. Before you mark me for sainthood, I should admit that I hoped to benefit both personally and professionally when I started this little venture.

So, what have I gained? Personally, I’ve developed  close relationships with some wonderful people that have enriched my life. Professionally, I’ve had the opportunity to read and review the work of some fine authors. Many of these writers have returned the favor. I’ve even sold a few books from this monthly platform.

One more thing…I’m reminded at the beginning of each month how fortunate I am to be surrounded by a community of people that share my hopes, dreams, and struggles. The pain is still there. So is the fear. But it’s better.