As a poet, I’ve made my readers cry. I’ve actually seen them wipe away tears in front of me as they were reading my poetry on display. I have always treasured those tears. They are priceless. They mean more than winning any contest or being published in any journal. It doesn’t even matter if the readers purchase my poetry. Their hearts were touched by my words in a deep and special way. Many poets and writers never get to receive that incredible reward in person. I have. I count it an extreme privilege.
This week the tables were turned. My readers made me cry. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t readers of my poetry, it was readers of my magazine articles. Just like the tears of my readers, these were good tears. They weren’t tears caused by criticism, which is often when a writer hears from readers. The tears were brought on by the great honor they bestowed upon me. I was humbled and blessed once again by my readers.
This time, the response of my readers was passed on to me by one of my magazine publishers. The first was in regard to a phone call she received from a gentleman who called to compliment her on the high quality of the publication in general (HerLife Magazine of Denver). He had worked in magazine publishing previously and always looked at magazines with a critical eye based upon his experience. He told her how well it was laid out and put together (HerLife Magazine has a great team of professionals). He also asked her to specifically relay a message to me regarding the cover story I had written. “… immensely enjoyed reading the Jessica James cover story and thought that it was superb writing!”
That he would take the time to contact her and to specifically communicate that message for me, touched me deeply. It ‘almost’ made me cry. It was great, and I was blessed, but it was when the second comment came this week that I actually did shed some tears. It was, again, from my publisher in Denver, but this time it wasn’t just from a random reader. These words came from a woman who had been selected to be featured as one of our future cover stories. She wrote this in her email to the publisher and the publisher was kind enough to pass it on to me:
“I am very excited to be interviewed by Kathleen Krueger. She is so good at telling the story of the person she is interviewing. It is an honor to have her put my story onto paper to connect with readers.”
So, why am telling you all this? Why put it out here for everyone?
You might assume I’m just tooting my own horn. “See how great a writer I am!” But I’m not. Actually, part of the reason this has so touched me and humbled me is that I’m not that great of a writer. I know many of my writer friends who haven’t been published in a magazine are much better writers than I am. I know poets who have never won a contest that are better than many who have.
I didn’t set out to become a writer of people’s stories. I was just trying to make some money off my words and stumbled into it. I didn’t even know that I would enjoy it as much as I do. I am greatly blessed to have the privilege of hearing, and then sharing, the stories of wonderful people every month. Even in my copy writing for businesses, I am still telling a story, painting a picture, that I hope communicates accurately.
My fellow writers. Don’t count your success in dollars or awards. Count your success in the laughter, the tears, the angst, the inspiration, the insight, the sense of shared experience that your readers receive through reading your words.
And readers…let the writer know. Take the time to send an email, make a comment, share their work. As much as we may enjoy our writing process, we do want our words to be enjoyed and to make some measure of difference in the lives of those that read them.
Now on to writing some website copy that is certain to transform life as we know it!
Or at least clearly communicate the passion of a business owner to his clients. 🙂