Wednesday, August 31, 2016

We Write For Our Readers

One of my Chicken Soup stories was featured at The Good News Factory earlier this week. The editor posted on facebook this morning to let me know of some of the positive comments she'd received about my story. So, color me happy!

I responded to the editor, Ellie Braun-Haley, that one of the reasons I write is to reach out and touch the lives of others in some positive way. When a reader writes to me that my story helped them face a situation or was something they could relate to or came just when needed, I rejoice.

That's why today's photo is one of thanks. I appreciate my readers on a daily basis. Without them, there would be little reason to try to write well enough to be published. When the positive comments arrive, I know that the time spent writing and marketing was well worthwhile. It is also an inspiration to continue.

We all like to hear good things about what we write but it's more than that with me and with many of other writers, too.

Fifty years ago, our first child died when she was only seven weeks old from complications of birth defects. I wanted to write the story then because I hoped to help other parents who had lived through the heartache Ken and I had experienced. I didn't, no, I couldn't, write about it then. Three years later, we lost our third child who lived only one day because his lungs were not full developed. Again, I wanted to write about our experience but I couldn't. It was thirty years before I wrote about those sad times. I have written several stories about those two children and how they affected our lives and our extended families as well. Every one of the stories was published, partly because the editors knew that this was a topic other parents could relate to.

Even though long-delayed, I'm so glad that I finally did write those stories because I received so many responses from readers who related to the topic. I didn't write those stories to gain sympathy; I had come to terms with the losses long before. I wrote to help others.

I wrote a story about missing my mother on Mother's Day. I was interviewed on a Topeka TV station about the Chicken Soup book the story appeared in. The host asked me to read the story aloud that day. The next morning, I received a phone call from a woman who had seen the show, heard the story and wanted to tell me she had lost her own mother within the year and she had been dreading Mother's Day. She said, "After hearing your story, I know I can face that day and get through it just fine." It meant a lot to me that the woman had cared enough to find my phone number and make that call.

We do write for our own satisfaction but we also write for our readers. It does not matter whether you are writing fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry. Our aim is for others to read what we've written, for readers to find something of use or pleasure. The sad thing is that we only get feedback from a very few.

So today, I send bunches of thanks to my readers of this blog and to those who have read the many stories I have written over the years. The next time you especially like something you've read and have the opportunity to make a comment, take a minute and do it. It means so much to writers to hear from their readers.

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