Just today in my email, a note from an acquaintance named Penny popped up — what a treat! Penny and her husband Will are dog walking pals of mine. Sadly, I no longer make the daily rounds with my dog-walking buddies, but I ran into Penny and Will at a local meeting one evening.
When I heard that Penny had decided to launch a venture focusing on helping high-school students and others identify their strengths from a career standpoint, it sounded like a great new path for her. I could see that she was really energized by the whole prospect. After our meeting, I ran home and brought back a copy of my book, Birthing the Elephant, and signed it for Penny. Since she was in start-up mode, I felt sure that there was something in my book that might be helpful.
That’s what Penny’s note was about. She was writing to tell me that she’s been reading Birthing the Elephant steadily and she’s finding it encouraging and inspiring. As a writer, this is the greatest gift I can receive: to hear from someone that something I wrote made a difference in their lives, even in a small way.
So often, as writers, we labor alone. We think alone, we imagine alone, we write alone, we rewrite alone, we ponder alone, we live through what we are writing alone. And then, if we are lucky, somehow, our words take wing. They go out into world and find the people they are meant to find or the people who are meant to find them, find them. And when that happens, it’s truly a magical thing.
Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, poetry or plays, fantasies or films, always remember that you are not alone. Somewhere, perhaps peeking just over your shoulder, is a reader waiting to see, needing to hear, wanting to know, what you have to say. You may not be able to see this invisible reader, but if you relax into the moment, you’ll feel this presence. And our job? It’s simple, but not easy: Write our hearts out. Give that reader the very best that’s in us. And then, give some more.