Hardcopy of manuscript printed at the local printers: £11
Money spent on coffee to fuel writing it: £60
Feeling the weight of your book when handing it to an avid reader friend for her perusal: Priceless.
The best things in life are free. For everything else, there's Mastercard.
This is the best and worst moment in a writer's life. You've invited the reader into your private little world for the first time. You might have spent six weeks, six months, or six years (or more) in that lonely state of creation, where you only had the voice in your head (I call it the Muse - mine looks a lot like Gwenyth Paltrow) to criticize and inspire.
When you hand it over, it all changes. Suddenly they have the power to take a stab in the dark at the meaning, the so, what? of the text.
You now go from being a closet writer to being an actual writer, and your friends/family/lover/husband/wife/son/daughter can't help but be impressed to see it and hold it, with that glorifying heft that goes along with it. Books have weight. They can see that you haven't just been skiving!
I urge all of you writerly folks out there, my dear blog readers, to be brave. When your story is ready you know the time is right. Print it up. You write for yourself and you write for the entertainment of others and so, even though, upon seeing it in hardcopy form, you cringe when you see that your prose (or poem, or song, etc.) is cloying and irritating, I'm sure you will find that your readerly friends will be more than honored to be invited into the sacred, most exclusive realm of your creative genius.
Or at least that's what I like to think.
Write away! (And then press print!)