The Reader

readerWhenever I tell someone I’m a writer, and they show genuine interest towards my “profession,” I end up telling them about all the cool e-mails I get from people. Or about the reviews my books get. Or this or that comment.

You know, there are good days and bad days. There are days when you don’t feel like writing, or days that you simply don’t want to write. But your readers are what’s most important, what keeps you going, what makes you feel like a writer even during those bad days.

And I think this is the big change we’ve seen recently, the reason why self-publishing has become such a viable option: we can now interact with our readers in a myriad of different ways. Social media is not a get rich quick scheme, is just the best way to find readers, or for those readers to find you.

It didn’t use to be this personal. Think of a time before the Internet, before all these cool social networks. Before blogging.

But now, you can send an e-mail to any writer you’d want. You can comment on his or hers blog, and you might even get a reply. You get to know these people, which in turn enables writers to build connections with readers.

It’s become quite personal.

I honestly believe that without his readers, a writer isn’t much of a writer. And it’s not about numbers, about some statistic, it’s about the way he treats his readers. I read every comment and every e-mail I receive. I do my best to reply, but sometimes there’s nothing I can add to the conversation, so I chose not to write some generic reply, like “Thank you for your comment.”

And I think that it doesn’t matter if you’re self-published, traditionally published, or just writing on a blog.

You have to treat your readers with respect. Because, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who encourage you to write more, to write better.

That’s something money can’t buy. Appreciation, admiration, however you want to call it. That feeling you get when someone tells you that you’ve somehow inspired them. Or given them strength to carry on. It’s a feeling that can’t be described or analyzed.

I once wrote that, “Writing isn’t easy because you have to relieve the most painful moments of your life, over and over again, and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.”


44 thoughts on “The Reader

    • Sorry to barge in. I’m Elizabeth, not Christian (obviously.) There is a book written by a neuroscientist who had a stroke herself called My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor Ph.D. I highly recommend it. It is an easy read and would provide a wonderful example of how to write such an account. I think another book like this is needed and would be well received. Good luck.

  1. This post has definitely inspired me. My blog is still very young (not even 2 weeks old yet) and it can be disheartening to not get as many views as I anticipated for a certain post or to not have an audience of commentators who like to respond to my blog and engage in some type of dialogue. At the end of the day, I have to remember that I’m writing for a reason and sooner or later, I will reach an audience who wants to hear what I have to say.

    I agree that appreciation for our readers is key. Being that I only have about 29 followers, whenever they take the time to leave a comment on my posts, I always follow up with a response because I’m grateful that they even have an opinion on what I’m talking about. The interaction makes blogging that much more interesting and fun :)

      • Yeah that’s really a great way to look at it. I’m especially grateful to the ones that actually have an opinion, even if it is opposite of my own. The interaction factor of blogging is what drives me!

    • I know you may not even care to hear from a random person on here, but check out the zero to hero blog post:

      Don’t give up. We are all here for the very same reasons, to tell our story in the best way we see fit. Be positive, and it shows through in the posts if you love what you are doing. Clearly, you are doing something ‘write’ because you already have 29 awesome followers. Everything takes time, and nothing happens over night. But the most important thing I think with blogging is the fact that we don’t attain to gain a huge crowd following, but to just express our innermost thoughts and feelings, and in the end, if you are just yourself, people will feel that and enjoy it because you are doing what you love in the process without trying so hard. I’m no where near famous, and I have no expectations to make it big on here, but if anyone can gain some inspiration, feel touched in anyway, and feel like it gives them encouragement to apply it to their own lives and blogs, then that is awesome. Anyways, not to say I know it all, but you are already doing it the right way :)

      • The Zero to Hero blog post was excellent! Thanks so much. And I agree. my current followers are pretty awesome because they actually interact with my blog instead of liking a post for the heck of it or pressing the follow button but never visiting again. Quality over quantity any day :) I definitely appreciate your encouragement as well!

    • I feel the same way S dot, and started mine about the same time as you as well. When you have a post that you feel strongly about and it doesn’t get the reception you think it deserves it definitely can be a bit of a buzz-kill but like you say, keeping focus with why you write in the first place is key.

      And while I agree with Cristian that you need to keep your readers in mind, you also have to be careful to not self censor or pigeon hole your writing in perhaps an unintentional attempt to garner and appease an audience. Audiences (at least on WordPress) are intelligent, they know when they’re being pandered to. I think we can all agree that making your content as accessible as possible is important, while also never compromising on the spirit of that content!

      • Well said. I want my readers to love my work, complexities and all. I used to do slam poetry regularly and I used to find myself watering down my style at times or “dumbing down” my word choice because I was afraid no one would understand what I was talking about. Luckily I broke out of that habit and gave my audience a lot more intellectual credit and I was much happier while expressing myself the way I truly wanted.

    • I know the feeling…my blog started on 22nd Feb and I have 5 posts up, anxiously looking for reaction all the time. The day I put my link up on Facebook, many people viewed it and then it was slow the next day…well who knows…maybe it will get better. keep on going on…because once you have started it is important to follow through with new posts written from the heart. There are readers out there…Good Luck

      • You’re absolutely right. I am thankful for my fellow bloggers out there (you included) for giving me words of encouragement and keeping my hope alive that I will reach a larger audience that actually CARES about my writing :)

  2. As a late comer to this social media business at age 70 (but not to writing), I appreciated your commitment to saying something personal in response to your readers. I’m not going to live long enough to rack up the numbers, although who knows?? But I have treasured the opportunity to have even mini-conversations with interesting people worldwide.

  3. Love your quote in the last line.

    “Writing isn’t easy because you have to relieve the most painful moments of your life, over and over again, and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.”

    So true.

  4. Great post Christian! When I’ve told people that I write, prior starting my blog, some are interested, some just wonder where I get my ideas from, some could care less. I’ve started getting commentary on my posts, and your thoughts on the subject matter won’t be forgotten.

    • Thanks for the inspiration! I just finished my first book and have had no interest from agents or publishers, started a blog and have hardly any followers, then started applying for some freelance writing gigs and have had no luck. I could be disheartened by this, but instead chose to enter a short story contest and received a great response from fellow authors. I am so happy and have started a new short story. The new novel I’m writing has me more excited than I ever was with the first; not because people expect something, but because it just makes me happy to write. If my words can possibly inspire another or give someone something to think about, awesome!

  5. I find I’m being more truthful n less cynical/comical in my writing. Always ready to throw in a quick joke as a disclaimer of sorts. Gettin more comfy now…have a new outlook on this whole writing thing.

  6. Hi Christian! I am still new to WordPress, but so far blogging here for a month has been a great experience. I like your posts, and I couldn’t agree more. As a writer (not as a professional but a hobby) I can say that I write not for my benefit, but the benefit of others. If I suddenly see that my blog posts are no longer being read, then I will stop writing.

    Your readers are extremely important, because they are the support that you as a writer have. Without readers, writers are only writing to themselves. There is nothing wrong with keeping a personal journal or writing to yourself, but I always believe that writing isn’t meant to be hidden unless it is too personal to share. Writing is mean to be an expression for others to partake in. In doing so, we as writers not only feel appreciated, but other readers can walk away with a better understanding of what we wanted to convey, and they are also hopefully enhanced by what we write. Great blog post!

  7. I really appreciated this post. I’m still a Blog newbie, and like you said, even as a writer, there are those days inspiration is pretty much lacking. But I got inspired by writing in my blog because it’s amazing to actually interact with fellow writers, and have an audience to write to. The fact that we can interact now, and exercise this form of expression with the world because of social media is really special. It used to be that if we didn’t get a major publishing deal or something, no one saw our work. But now we are able quite easily to send our thoughts out to the world, and vice versa

  8. This is a wonderful post. No need to reply. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your reminder of how important readers are, and how wonderful the connections are between writers and readers, especially through blogs.

    Also, I intruded on a comment above. Sorry.

    Best regards,

  9. I enjoyed the comments. Certainly writing is now much more than it was. It’s interactive like everything has become in our lives. There are some writers out there that still pretty much keep to themselves and sell books. I like, as a reader and book reviewer, getting to know the authors. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve only been blogging 4 months, but love meeting, interviewing and reading all the books out there that hold a piece of a writer’s heart.

  10. Wow! This is very inspiring. After being a slump with writing and hesitating to do it again, you made me realize the full-scale importance of continuing. Thank you.

  11. In all honesty I started my blog so my head wouldn’t explode with all these thoughts and ideas. I also did want more interaction between writer and reader. I struggle to keep the feelings of others in mind at the best of times so I rarely think about them when I’m about to read something, unless I want to educate them about something. But perhaps your post will influence me to think more about my audience before I write and not in the usual practical self-serving way.

    This comment was most definitely brought to you by autism.

  12. I write from the depths of my heart, if I get a like, great. If not ,great. I encourage others as well as myself. I didn’t get any likes until a month after my blog started, but that just made me get more into it. I had to wonder was I in this for applause or do I plan to make a strong impact. 1 or 100 likes, I hope I can help just one person be happy.

  13. A great piece of writing, one that is absolutely true and full of support for people like me.

    I am a newbie to blogging (3weeks) and to be frank, this is my first stint with disciplined writing.

    I realise, I haven’t been able to witness a deluge of readers on my blog and I am ready to accept that it may be because the words are not threaded very well. I am yet to master the art. But, to be honest it feels bad sometimes when I don’t get the desired results off my writing.

    It gets tough for me but then…

    Suddenly, out of the blue, I find you.

    This post was an inspiration to me. A motivation I can’t define. I now, just want to continue what I wanted to do and do it for as long as possible. I feel energetic! :D

    In the meantime, I request you to keep writing! :)

  14. Thoughtful post, Cristian. I’m getting back into blogging after a long layoff (divorce, life in disarray, yada yada). Even though I’m just ramping up, I’m feeling like my imagined readership is just as important to me, at this stage, than the actual following I hope to build. Does that make sense to you?
    Glad to have found you.

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