It's a peculiar thing, the relationship between writer and character. I've found that each of them carries a piece of me inside them. I can relate to them. I know them. They are my family, my friends, and me. I love and depend on my family and friends. They are my support. But when something goes wrong in my life, when I'm hurting, I don't always go straight to them. I go to my writing; to my characters Sandy and Todd.
There is a part of me that is Sandy, and a pretty fat chunk that is Todd. Through my writing, I make them suffer so that I won't be alone. But they persevere. They withstand and grow. And I do with them. They are my closest friends. They cry with me. They laugh with me. Maybe that's not the most sane thing to admit. Maybe it's a problem. But without them, I don't know where I'd be.
I love to write, but there are times when my self-doubt and self-hate focus on what I hold most dear. My books. They are my mind, open and on display. To trash my writing is to cut my wrists. I know I'm not the best writer. No matter how I strive to be, I'll never be good enough. I'll never feel smart enough or pretty enough. I'll never be the artist I wish I could be, nor the writer I strive to become. I'll never sell enough, never be as eloquent as I feel that I should be. I give in to my doubts and despair. I fall into the pit and wait for the dirt to shower over my grave. But there is Sandy. There is Todd. Their story exists somewhere in the ether, and they beg me to tell it. I may not be good enough for me, but I'm all they have. And they won't let me give up.
So, despite the struggles I experience in publishing, I will not stop. If I were to stop publishing, I would not stop writing. Sandy and Todd would never allow that. Only, if I stopped publishing, I would have failed myself, and would continue to fail myself each time I sat down to write. I have a few fans, some whom I have never met. I am eternally thankful for them, because in those gray days between unending starless nights, they remind me that I am my own worst enemy. That I am Sandy. I am Todd. And like them, I will continue on.
Sometimes you can make your own heroes. I certainly did.