Friday, March 17

We are Unicorns

This past weekend, my RWA writer’s group welcomed Eloisa James’s PA, Kim Castillo, to speak to us about what she does.  Yes, some of us *cough! cough!* might have been hoping to snag a little residual mojo by being near a woman who works so closely with such a successful author. And all of us were thrilled with the goodie bags of swag Kim brought us. What I gained from Kim’s presentation were of a much more personal nature, and one in particular I want to talk about today.

Writers are unicorns.

No, we’re not mythological beings and no, we don’t poo rainbows or toot glitter… But we are unique individuals with a rare talent for weaving stories others can enjoy (yes, I said a “rare talent.” And it is rare, even when it might seem like everyone and their sister is claiming to be a writer). Just because a person can put a complete sentence or even a cohesive paragraph together does not mean they can be a writer of books. And I can say that because my authorial career began with a flippant “how hard could it be?”

By the way, the answer to my own query is: VERY hard! I don’t say this to discourage anyone who dreams of being an author. Everyone should be able to pursue their dreams, and the easier a dream is to fulfill the less fulfilling it tends to be. So “hard” isn’t a bad thing where writing is concerned. But it is definitely “hard” and I’m not talking about my hero during a sex scene here ;-)

Because writing a cohesive, captivating, emotionally-fulfilling book is so challenging, is it any wonder readers can be so enthralled with the authors who do it well? As writers, we make magic with our keyboards… Magic our readers can enjoy and magic that can still inspire wonder, even from other fellow “magicians!” Why else would we writers fan-girl on members of our own club except out of admiration for the magic they craft?

The myth of unicorns is wrapped in legend and lore, an elusive yet much-sought-after creature with mystical powers and wisdom of the ages. A thing of beauty and a mystery, forever revered and always symbolic of that which we desire most. Wow… who wouldn’t want to be a unicorn?

It’s a rather odd feeling when someone gushes about my writing. Mostly because, even though
writing a book is hard, it’s obviously not impossible or I wouldn’t have been able to do it. And I often feel like, if I can do it, really anyone can do it. My day-job boss will sometimes wax eloquent about how much he admires my ability to write a book… something he claims he could never do. Yep, I feel like a bit of a unicorn when he does this. Although, to be honest, he spends his day managing people and reading data—something I could never do—which makes him a bit of a unicorn in my eyes.

We all get to be a unicorn to someone, at least every so often. Like when my kiddos rave about my macaroni and cheese, even though it just came from a box with no adulteration. It’s a good, uplifting feeling to be someone’s unicorn, isn’t it? And to know that my books can be unicorns for my readers is an incredible feeling, both proud and humbling at the same time.

Have you ever experienced a unicorn moment?


  1. This is so perfectly said! I was at a conference in Chicago once, sitting in the lobby with some others (smoking--it's been a while), when a woman stopped to chat with one of the writers in the group. In the way of writers and women, we were all talking and laughing almost instantly. It took me a few minutes to catch onto the fact that I was talking and listening to Nora Roberts. It was serious fan-girl time!

    1. OMG! Did you keep your cool? :-)
      How awesome that the bid-deal authors are also just regular gals like us!

  2. Oh, man, Ava--you're speaking right me today! Love this post! I actually got to meet Eloisa James a couple of weeks ago and yeah, she's unicorn, but she's also just a person and there's something very comforting in that. I'm you're editor and I have to tell you that I, too, am very impressed with what you do!

  3. Yippee, I'm a unicorn! Love this post!