There were tears.
Tears of inspiration. Tears of watching a girl open a box containing a copy of her hard cover book. Tears realizing the romance writing community is such a supportive, powerful, smart group of women (and some men), and I am lucky enough to be part of it.
Love Between the Covers is a feature-length documentary about the romance writing community. I had the chance to view it along with the Chicago North and Windy City chapters of Romance Writers of America in (MY HOMETOWN!!) of Elmhurst, IL, earlier today. And, let me tell you, it left a mark...an impression that made me want to take a moment and blog about it.
I have always been a bit self-deprecating when it comes to my writing. It was something I always did in private. Writing romance wasn't something I used to run around telling people "hey, guess what I do in my spare time?" I actually used to cover up what I was writing so no one could accidentally read over my shoulder. I'd resort to opening another program on my laptop or, if writing in a notebook, actually hide the notebook so no one would read it. For the longest time, I wrote because it brought me joy.
Today, I realized, it could bring joy to others.
I never really thought of it that way. I always thought I would be humbly grateful and embarrassed if someone read my work and actually thought it was any good. But I never thought it might make someone's life better.
There have been writers who have changed my life...Sandra Brown, Julie James, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Elizabeth Gilbert, JoJo Moyes, Veronica Roth, Khaled Hosseini, Suzanne Collins...I could go on...what if I could be like them? It makes me want to work all that much harder at the craft.
And, let's talk about the support this group of writers offers, whether you are finishing your first novel or barely put word on paper. These altruistic writers take me by surprise sometimes, especially when I'm knocking myself down. I constantly hear words of support and kindness, counsel and validation.
There's so much I could say about this movie but it would take too long for me to cover it. So I will say this:
Writing romance is nothing to be ashamed of, and thanks to this movie, I want to shout it from the rooftops that "I write romance and I'm proud of it!"