I Needed This Today

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a writer is when people tell you that your work made an impact on them. It rarely happens. People are busy. Most don’t read your stuff, and of the ones who do, most don’t finish reading. Fewer still care to comment, let alone send an email. “Engagement,” as marketers call it, is a long, ever-narrowing funnel, so at the end of it, only a trickle will be left. That’s just the nature of business, but it makes your feedback all the more precious.

Once every blue moon, someone tells me they made a big life decision because of something I wrote. They might have quit their job or applied to a better one, left a bad relationship, or finally started taking their art seriously. Those moments are powerful, humbling to the point of almost being embarrassing — but the best comments are one-liners.

“Your post made me stop and reflect.” “Not everything one feels can be put into words, but somehow you did it.” And, the crowning achievement for any creative: “I needed this today.”

Creating, writing in particular, can be a lonely battle. Just because we choose a solitary task does not mean we always enjoy struggling alone. It’s us against us inside our own heads, so whenever someone breaks into that shell and says, “Hey! I see you! It matters what you’re doing here. Please keep going!” that’s more than a quick morale booster. It’s a reminder that our existence as writers is justified (at least in its current form), and that feels…wholesome.

If you enjoy someone’s work, tell them. Not every day, but at least every now and then. Your “I needed this today” is someone else’s “I needed this today.” If we all admit it to each other, no one will walk alone.