Writing is a solitary trade: so often we spend the majority of our time alone with only the voices in our heads. Which isn’t so bad, come to think of it: I usually find it entertaining enough, but then — as people always tell me — I’m a bit odd.
But there’s no denying that during all those long quiet nights (or noisy nights as they must be for some of us) we do have in the back of our minds the thought that out there somewhere is a reader waiting to read what we’ve written. Oh sure, if we’re doing things right, there ought to be a lot of readers out there. But sometimes the presence of even one reader — one tangible reader — can be enough to sustain us.
Some writers rely on a bevy of betas, readers who peruse the rough manuscript with alacrity, challenging weak spots and praising the good. They can be an essential part of the process, the committee that assures quality control in every story, who offer the writer a network of feedback at a professional level before facing the sometimes daunting whip of the careful editor. All right, most of my editors are real sweethearts who make me look good, but sometimes even they have to be tough.
But I’m thinking now of readers who read purely for pleasure, who inspire just by being out there, waiting for your words. Some of us are lucky enough to have eager readers who give us immediate feedback and oh, let’s admit it, much needed praise. The most thick-skinned writer nonetheless has those days where they hunger for appreciation. Some of us can struggle on not only despite harsh derision but sometimes deliberately to spite it. As an academic I have to listen to a lot of scorn for the genres that I write in (not just romance, but speculative fiction as well). Though it’s seldom aimed directly at me (I’m sure they do that behind my back after all as I have Harley boots ;-)) it’s an unpleasant sneer to bear.
So having appreciative readers who treasure your words enough to tell you is a gift. I know most people read books and even love them without once giving a thought to the person who writes the words, though they may nonetheless trumpet our praise aloud (or on the usual book review sites like Amazon and GoodReads). But a personal word means so much. I have a lot of friends who never read a word I write; the ones who do are golden to me.
Thank you, readers. It’s good to know you’re out there, waiting. I’m writing for you! 🙂