I love being an author. I love that these stories are finding a place in so many homes around the world. I’m honored. It’s astonishing to me that so many precious kids have found adventure and love and light in The Green Ember Series. I LOVE hearing from kids! It’s such an honor to receive these beautiful letters and art and questions and the profoundly encouraging words!
I have over a hundred unopened letters from all over the world beside me right now. Letters from California to Maine, and from exotic places like England, China, and Cement, Oklahoma. (It’s real!) My email and social media inboxes are teeming with unread and unanswered messages.
My heart’s sincere desire is to respond thoughtfully and fully to every letter and email and comment and message I get (especially from kids!), but reality is against me and I can’t quite keep up! It was easier to respond earlier on, but as things have grown, that has changed. I love the connectivity opportunities of the modern age and it truly is a wonderful time to be an author. However, I am honestly not able to respond to everyone. (Not and write more stories.) So many of you just want to share something encouraging and I always see those and I am always so grateful to you. Lots of people have questions and our team tries to respond as we are able, but we are a very small operation and it can be challenging.
I recently read Deep Work, by Cal Newport. Among its many insights, Deep Work reveals the habits of people who produce unusually excellent work. Common among many of these excellent individuals is a habit of almost never responding to any kind of message or request. Many only check email for one or two hours only one day a week. I don’t plan to do that just yet, but I do want to move in a direction where I’m spending as much time and energy as I can on the things I am most clearly called to. It happens that this is also what most of you want from me as well. More books! Movies/series (potentially)! While I don’t class myself with these “top performers” at all, I am convicted by the call to be more intentional and protect space to create generous, hospital work—to protect my best ability to serve my readers (including these beautiful children).
It’s amazing to be able to have a connection between author and reader, but it also makes things challenging. What I want to be clear about is if you haven’t received a quick (or slow) reply from me, it is NOT because I don’t value you and your note/letter/email/comment. Many of us already struggle with a “normal” level of email etc. When that is cranked up quite a lot, it becomes profoundly difficult to manage. This is an awesome problem to have! I’d take it over “no one cares enough to write” any day! 🙂
I just wish I could write back to everyone with the thoughtfulness and consideration I feel each communication deserves. Especially to kids. But I can’t. I hope you understand and can extend me grace. Please know that I am so grateful for you and honored so much that you care enough to write!
My friends and counselors advise me that it is completely normal to not expect to hear back from an author, but I am really uncomfortable with that. However, if more stories are going to happen, I probably have to make significant concessions to that convention.
As I (necessarily) become more difficult to reach personally, I hope that I am blessed to be able to continue to share stories that carry within them the best of what I’m able to offer the world. And these stories can be copied and shared, like Heather Longtreader’s tale, and fan into flame those sparks of resistance against the darkness we all so desperately need.
The seed of the new world smolders…
Bear the flame,