The Rewards of Writing

Lady Ru’etha commented to me this morning over the phone that I should respond to comments on my blog more often. And I don’t doubt that She’s right (boy, is that an overused phrase around here…) It’s just that I’m never quite sure what to say. “Thank you!” seems both so obvious as to forbear saying, while at the same time always seeming so trite as to be almost insulting. (And I always worry that it will sound less sincere with every repetition, despite being deep and heart-felt every time.)

So instead, I’m writing about what it means to get comments. Your comments, specifically. (This is an old writerly trick to get you feeling personally involved in the story I’m telling, here. I’m hoping it will work anyway.) What does it mean to hear from a reader?

Everything. Everything in the world. Writing is an act of desperation in some ways, taking a piece of your soul and giving it to someone else. (And I mean that in the literal sense. I think of my writing as an attempt to share with others what it means to think like I do, and if there’s a better description for the soul than that, I don’t know it.) And the only reward for that act that’s worth having is the knowledge that another person accepted that piece of your soul into themselves. Whether it’s something deep and meaningful, like “True Colors” (probably my magnum opus as far as my short stories are concerned) or something light and silly like this blog, it still matters just as deeply. We writers want to get paid for our writing (as witnessed by my selling my books, shameless plug shameless plug) but that’s just because we can’t eat praise. Actual feedback trumps money every day.

And the fact that it’s erotica makes the act of giving feedback all the more precious, because I know that it takes an act of courage to admit to liking stories involving not just sex, but sex that involves a deeply personal fetish like mind control. (My original comment on the subject went something like, “Telling Neil Gaiman you like his stories means that you enjoyed his cunning use of wordplay, his deep and insightful themes, and his emotional insights into human nature. Telling me you like my stories means admitting you masturbated.”) So every letter I get, every review I get (yes, even the bad ones), every comment I get is immensely important to me. Other forms of feedback, like website hits (and yes, sales reports) are nice, because they show people are reading. But listening to people talk about my stories, knowing that I touched them emotionally? It means everything in the world to me. I save every piece of fanmail I get.

So seriously, with the greatest of sincerity, now that you’ve gotten this little explanation as to what it means when I say it, to everyone who’s ever commented on anything I’ve written…

Thank you.

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3 Responses to “The Rewards of Writing”

  1. Stormgale Says:

    I will now refuse to comment on principle….

    FRICK! I didn’t think this through ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. HypnoMedia Says:

    As a writer myself, I know the importance of getting (and giving) feedback.

    Writing is a lonely profession, one in which it is difficult to see the results of intensive labor over a typewriter or word processor or even a blank piece of paper. Sometimes the only reward we writers get is the praise of our readers. Even the criticism and rejection gives us the satisfaction that at least they read what we wrote, which is all we writers want, really.

    And the only way we have really to thank our readers is to continue writing.

  3. RikaNeko Says:

    I’m a writer too, and I completely understand what you mean.

    Plus I’m a feedback craver, even if I write firstly for myself, and then for others. And when someone praise my stories, I will get all fuzzy and warm in the inside.

    Especially in my kinky writing ๐Ÿ˜‰

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