CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last winter, Linda Mays, a student in my husband's novel class, shared a link to a book on Amazon.com that had been sent to her by a friend.
Apparently, said Mays, her friend's motivation in sending the link was to encourage her to continue writing. "She must've been thinking, 'Hey, if this person can get a book published, maybe you can, too.' "
Mays wrote that she followed the link and read some excerpts from the book, then scrolled down and began reading the reviews.
"That's where the real fun began," said Mays, who shared the link with the rest of the class.
At that time, though, I must've been busy, because rather than follow the link, I saved it for later, then forgot all about it until this past weekend. My husband and I had just returned from a writing conference, which usually gets me so charged up I can't return to my keyboard fast enough.
But this time was different. Instead of brimming with ideas and how to approach them, I came home feeling I've been playing out of my league. There are so many fabulous writers in West Virginia alone. How can I hope to even rise to the middle, much less the top?
Fortunately, when I'd saved the link Linda Mays sent, I attached a note to myself that said, "Something to read the next time you're feeling down about writing."
I followed the link and read the reviews.
"As a rule," wrote one of the early reviewers, "I force myself to read at least half of a book, no matter how terrible it is. I must say, this was most certainly the worst half of a book I've ever read. If you're the type of person who likes to stop and look at train wrecks, see if the library has a copy. If not, spare yourself."