I just received the nicest email comment from a reader today! She probably has no idea how much her words mean to me. I did write her back, of course, but it's hard to convey to someone just how meaningful encouragement is in the writing world unless you are a writer yourself.
Most people, to some degree or another, define themselves by their jobs. We put forth effort to do those jobs, and acclamation for work well done is always appreciated. But for most writers, writing is not just a job. It's who we are. It's much more than acclamation for a job well done that we hear when someone tells us they liked what we wrote.
I have children, and I see myself as a mother. I'm also a wife. I put my heart and soul into these things because I love my children and my husband. So, when I hear them say, "I love you," or get a giant hug, I'm not just getting the message, "Hey, you did a great job of making breakfast this morning"--I'm being told that everything about me matters to them.
This is how writers feel when we receive praise for our writing. We put our hearts and souls into what we write. Everything on the paper you read has come from within someone. It's much more than just arranging the right words. My books are a piece of me. The stories come from somewhere inside, and the characters are as real to me as if they were flesh and blood when I go into the writing zone.
So, please let your favorite authors know how much you appreciate them. Visit their blogs and websites--leave comments--tell them when something they've written has affected you. They need to hear it!
Oh, and if you're curious, the reader I mentioned is not someone I know--she's someone who visited my website (http://www.findingangel.com/) and checked out the first chapter of my book. She asked me to "PLEASE publish it"...and oh, I promise you I am trying! I just need to find that agent who feels the same way :).
I discovered after posting this that the commenter is thirteen. Yes, amazing isn't it. I write a book aimed at girls that age and they actually take to it...just as all my teen test readers have. Too bad agents tend not to be teen girls :).