I can’t really speak for other writers, of course, but this writer – this woman right here in ear-flap boxer shorts and a “Got books?” t-shirt loves to hear a few things about her writing – especially after she spent 10 hours formatting a manuscript that, now, has to be formatted all over again.
1. I can’t wait to read it. You say this to me, and I feel like the Grinch with my heart growing to three times it’s size (although I hope my heart is more sizable than the Grinch’s original version). These words make me buckle down and be sure the manuscript is as perfect as I can make it. They make me feel connected to the people I write for. They make me feel like my work is not futile.
2. I mentioned your book/blog/article/poem to ______. What?! You cared enough to tell someone else about what I wrote. Wow. (Note – the same effect can be had by sharing a writer’s work online and being sure to tag them in it.)
3. I loved this part. Maybe you send me an email where you quote me to me. Or you pull a line out of a blog post. Or you just tell me – I love that part where Malvina is at the spinning wheel. If you tell me you appreciated a section of my work, you show me that you read it, that you thought about it, and that it affected you. And that’s the biggest thing. Really.
4. I bought your book. This is not the most important message to me, but it is an important one because it tells me that you used your hard-earned dollars to support what I do with my days.
5. Keep going. Probably everyone on the planet needs to hear this about their passions and their work, but for me as a writer, when you take the time to tell me that my efforts are worth it, that they are good, you are countering an entire culture’s message that art is useless and selfish. You help me remember what I know to be true – art is valuable.
To all of you who say these things to me regularly – via email or Facebook or an hour and a cup of coffee on a hard day – I say, THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you. It’s like you’ve put your hand on my arm; I can feel your warmth.
What words do you love to hear that keep you going in your work?