I can’t say for certain how many times I’ve written the email myself. Certainly, the amount of times I’ve deleted and rewritten the email is at least double.
I don’t mean to fangirl…
Your books are really inspirational.
Thank you for being so accessible to readers…
I’ve been a reader all my life. You have to be a reader if you want to be a writer. But even before I understood that this was a plan I had for my future, I read voraciously. I worked at libraries and took home bags of books. I hoarded. I still hoard. In the age of the internet and modern social communication, it is easier than ever to reach out to the authors that have touched our lives and driven us, inspired us, helped to create a world we want to be part of.
I’ve been lucky enough, through postings right here on this site, through Twitter, and through my in-person network, to meet some of my writing heroes. And they’ve all been more amazing than I ever thought possible. I’ve been lucky there too. To be a writer, you have to be a reader, but sometimes it’s a weird wire to walk–to be professional and totally chill and cool even though your eyes are popping out of your head.
The reason this is all important is simply to say–I’ve been on one side of this a lot. For years. And happily.
But yesterday, when hearing back from a reader during a giveaway prize exchange, I got to be on the other side of it.
Me. Sitting here in my bedroom home office. Me. Hacking away at stories and hoping for the best. Me. Me.
She was supremely kind and open-hearted, thanked me for taking the time to reach out to her, and said that she was fangirling over me. Like, swoon. Not only was her email respectful and kind, but she was genuinely supportive and told me that I was brave with each new book I put out. The feeling of being seen by a reader, supported by her, was so incredible and has had me smiling all day.
And it goes even further than her kindness. Because I’m just a regular person, trying to make it doing what I love. Each email I agonized over sending to my favorite authors made them feel like they were out of my league, some crazy alien genius I could never be anything like.
Imposter syndrome is funny like that.
Sitting on the other side of it, seeing all those words I’ve written to other authors, it’s a reminder that they have probably all had a similar moment. Almost everyone does at some point or another. You like me? You really like me?
There is no defining moment when you become a “real writer”. You’re a real writer when you start writing. You’re a real writer when you dream up imagined worlds and wild plots. You’re a real writer when you tell campfire stories.
Am I working toward a full-time career as a novelist? Sure. But I imagine that nothing, not awards or recognition will ever make me feel more like a real writer than this email, this moment a reader shared her appreciation for my stories, this simple note that reminded me of why I do what I do and who it’s really for.
Maybe next time I send an email, it won’t just go to a writer I love, but to a reader that makes all the difference.