Thank You Writers

Isn’t that old fashioned.
 

Spending hours.
 

Days.
 

Weeks.
 

Months.
 

Dare I say, years.
 

Creating. Honing. Crafting. Editing. Exploring.
 

One’s own purpose. One’s craft as a writer. One’s ability to understand who they hope to reach, and how. And what they hope the effect of that connection will be. The legacy of the work.
 

Old fashioned to send a thank you letter in the mail, instead of merely “favoriting” a tweet.
 

To send a long email response to a Facebook post.
 

To ask to meet for coffee instead of having a phone call.
 

To focus less on gaming an algorithm (be it Amazon or Google), and more on publishing when it makes sense to you, the author.
 

To measure value in generations, not daily sub-genre bestseller lists.
 

To become AWARE of trends, of tools, of new opportunities, but not allow them to drive all of your actions. To balance the new, with the old, in a way that is personal to your challenges, and your goals.
 

To realize that “best practices” are often simplified lists of things that work only 30% as good as they used to.
 

And that enthusiasm is a better driver for action that skepticism.
 

That the demons you must battle to create and share your work lie less in understanding the ins and outs of metadata or social media or blog tours, and more in the bad habits you won’t give up, the excuses you cling to because they protect you from ancient fears.
 

That sometimes, you are your own worst enemy – that the battle is internal – and not with some external “changing face of publishing trends.”
 

But that you are also your greatest opportunity to do what matters most: to write, to express, to connect, to create something that becomes ALIVE in the life of another. That regardless of the type of writing you craft and share, it is filled with infinite possibilities in what it becomes to someone else. How a small quote from deep within your novel can ring in the mind of a reader years after they first read it, and how it helps them through a difficult time.
 

How a story becomes a moment to someone. An insight. And eventually, an action.
 

That the sale of a book, or an Amazon review is not the measure of success. That the value of your work is not measured in stars. But instead, value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.
 

That you can prepare for success, but never plan for it. And that your success will always be a group activity, filled with moments of pride, but many more moments of sheer luck.
 

That this.
 

The writing.
 

The body of work.
 

Which is slow. Which takes time. Which is a lifetime of effort.
 

That your journey as an author.
 

And how your work connects with and shapes the lives of readers.
 

As old fashioned as this may be.
 

Is why you do this.
 

And that we, the readers, thank you for it.

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About Dan Blank

Dan Blank is the founder of WeGrowMedia, where he helps writers share their stories and connect with readers. He has helped hundreds of authors via online courses, events, consulting, and workshops, and worked with amazing publishing houses and organizations who support writers such as Random House, Workman Publishing, Abrams Books, Writers House, The Kenyon Review, Writer’s Digest, Library Journal, and many others.

Comments

  1. says

    That’s why we writers do it – because we saw other writers do it when we were readers first, and we want some of that manna.

    Writing is sharing what we’ve learned about life – because it feels good.

    People wouldn’t keep trying, wouldn’t keep writing more books, if it weren’t for readers.

    I’m not published in novel form – yet – but without readers, there would be no point.

    So, thank you readers – may I always be one, too.

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  2. says

    “value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone”

    This is beautiful, Dan. One of your best posts–and that’s saying something.

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  3. says

    Much needed thoughts here, Dan. Thank you. I especially like “value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.”

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  4. Priya Gill says

    Lovely post Dan.

    I especially loved the paragraph that Johanna Harness just picked.

    I have never stopped to think why I write. I guess it’s because I love it so.

    Waking up at odd hours just to work on the manuscript.

    Suddenly realizing that it’s 2am and I basically forgot to go to bed as I was so lost in the scene that I was writing.

    It’s a all worth it now, for the joy that I get out of the process.

    Yet it will be even more fun when a reader reads it… Just some person on the train in some unknown city… and he/she reads the last page then slowly looks up at the nothingness whizzing past, lost, unseeing, and says…wow! Those three letters will say it all, for me.

    :-) still smiling here.

    Priya

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  5. says

    Thank you, Dan, for this beautiful post. I’m going to bookmark it and read it to help with perspective when the other stuff you mentioned gets in the way. After all, no matter the medium, no matter when the time, it is always about readers and writers.

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  6. says

    Dan, there’s a quiet but stirring poetry in this, and a sure presence. Lovely writing—thank you for the careful attention to what matters.

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  7. says

    Thank YOU, Dan. It’s so easy to forget why we do it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the WRONG reasons for doing it. It’s so easy to put emphasis on meaningless, empty, false measures of success. This one’s getting printed out and going on the wall above my desk.

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  8. says

    A lovely post with much wisdom and grace. There is even more than meets the eye in it. So much work, effort, time goes into each book that I am astounded at the weight of accumulated wisdom and community in a library or bookstore. And of course, I want to echo Alicia in thanking readers.

    By the way, your piece dovetails beautifully with thoughts of Anne Enright in a June 2013 Guardian piece on failure (that I discovered today via twitter), where she speaks of reaching one reader at a time. Thank you for the reminder that its the journey, and our companions along the way, that matter!

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  9. says

    “But instead, value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.”

    Ah, yes. Thank you for the reminder.

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  10. says

    “to create something that becomes ALIVE in the life of another. That regardless of the type of writing you craft and share, it is filled with infinite possibilities in what it becomes to someone else.”

    Yes. What a marvelous and mysterious thing is a book! As a reader I’ve experienced it since childhood, as have we all I’d bet. As a published writer this is still new and shiny to me.

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  11. says

    Thanks for a post that recognizes that success doesn’t come overnight, that time is your friend, and that other people’s methods to success may not be (most likely won’t be) how you find your own success. And that success is an ebb and flow of moments, rather than a place to be arrived at. :)

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  12. says

    “That the sale of a book, or an Amazon review is not the measure of success. That the value of your work is not measured in stars. But instead, value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.”

    This is so what I needed to hear right now.

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  13. says

    Nice, Dan. Thanks for happy thoughts on my stuffy-cold-head Friday. And what I hate most about stuff-cold-head-Friday is that I can’t enjoy the writing as much as I usually do.

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  14. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Wow…what a piece. I had to share it with my readers, because, as a writer, I do not believe that everyone understands exactly what we go through on a daily basis. But, with all the craziness it entails, we cannot seem to stop sharing it with the world.

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    • says

      Michael,
      Well, there is always that. Though clearly: anything that elicits that much emotion (good or bad), is probably something worth doing!
      Thank you.
      -Dan

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  15. says

    Thanks for the inspiration! Especially, this–

    And that enthusiasm is a better driver for action that skepticism.

    That the demons you must battle to create and share your work lie less in understanding the ins and outs of metadata or social media or blog tours, and more in the bad habits you won’t give up, the excuses you cling to because they protect you from ancient fears.

    That sometimes, you are your own worst enemy – that the battle is internal – and not with some external “changing face of publishing trends.”

    But that you are also your greatest opportunity to do what matters most: to write, to express, to connect, to create something that becomes ALIVE in the life of another. That regardless of the type of writing you craft and share, it is filled with infinite possibilities in what it becomes to someone else. How a small quote from deep within your novel can ring in the mind of a reader years after they first read it, and how it helps them through a difficult time.

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  16. says

    So happy I was wise enough to launch into this rainy gray Sunday morning by reading this lovely lyrical post. And as much as I adore every line here, this one touches particularly deep as both writer and reader:

    “That the sale of a book, or an Amazon review is not the measure of success. That the value of your work is not measured in stars. But instead, value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.”

    This is pretty much perfection, Dan. Thank you :-D

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  17. says

    Whoa – I am pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down, Dan. Wow. Talk about resonating. Yikes. Thank you for thanking us and you’re welcome. :)

    “That the value of your work is not measured in stars. But instead, value is measured in moments you will never know about; moments in the lives of your readers that are so private, they could never consider sharing it with anyone.”

    THIS. This is why I write. I don’t know if it’s why everyone does, but it’s why I do. Thank you for reminding me of that. Sometimes we lose sight.

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  18. says

    Dan, your post has a touch of red in it. It comes from the heart. Loved it. And about writing? At 84, I eat food, drink water, sleep, breathe air, hug my bride, and write to stay alive.

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  19. says

    It is old fashioned…terribly so. And I wouldn’t have it
    any other way :) It’s been a day full of those “demons” you
    mentioned and reading this was just what I needed. Thank
    you!

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