Merry day-after-Christmas! If that isn't a thing, it shall be now. I hope all of you have been enjoying a restful time with family and friends, and that you writers have been reaching your word count each day (which I have not been doing, due to spending time with family and such).
Being surrounded by family means said family will, at some point, inquire after my writings. As a writer, there are many things I do not want people to ask or say to me. These things are often funny, but true. But this is and has been covered by others quite often...
There are, however, things I actually do want you to say to me.
If you have a writer in your life, please, please do not neglect them. We require care in actions and in words. I'm about to help you care for your writer through words.
Disclaimer: Be sure you are sincere. We do not like insincerity (I don't think anybody does), but we can sense it. If you didn't like something, you might want to keep it to yourself. But when you are telling us the things I'm about to lay out, you need to make sure you actually have time to listen to us for a wee bit, and, if you compliment us, expect blushing, awkward thank-yous, and dancing around said compliment (not all writers are like this, but I certainly am).
And here's what we love to hear:
1. I read your book/blog post!
This is fantastic. If you tell us this, you will automatically become a much more attractive human being. We will love you for this. That's one of the points of what we do...we write so people will read. It lets us know that you care enough to take time out of your day to read something that we care about. It's an expression of love.
2. I love ______/I relate so much to ______! (about a character)
If you tell us that you love one (or more) of our characters, we will love you back. To tell us that you adore one of the people/creatures we have created is a great compliment. So, you not only read our book, but you paid attention to the characters and their personalities and growth.
Bonus points if you go on to talk about why you love a character/why you relate to them.
3. Can we just gush about ______? (about character, usually. but can be something else)
Writers adore their characters. They are a part of us. If you want to fan over our characters with us, we will more than happily oblige. Please, please, please do this. It's difficult to find people to gush over our characters with, so if you've read our book and love a character, please open up this rare opportunity for us. This 'gushing' is also applicable when you have stumbled upon a line or paragraph or chapter that was a pure work of genius and you have to tell us. Tell us we are genius (or, at least, in that little spot).
4. ______ made me think/______ changed my perspective on ______.
If you tell us that something in what we've written has made you think (actually think and wonder and imagine and question), we will be honored. That's one of the reasons we write, is to make people think. Actually think. Also, if something we've written has changed your perspective on some topic or issue, that's an even greater honor. This is one of the greatest achievements a writer can earn. Let us know so we can be encouraged and strive to continue these works!
5. I recommended your book to a friend!
If we are the tiniest bit proud or satisfied with a completed work, be sure to recommend our writings to people! Even if they're strangers. The more people who know about our writing, the more benefits (usually) for us. This means more readers, more reviews, and more money (we have to make a living somehow, and writing is one of those ways).
6. I'm excited for your next installment!
This means you have read a previous one (book or blog post) and you want more. Yes! We have accomplished another of our goals. We always wish to leave you wanting more. If we've succeeded, let us know. This encourages us to get back to work and get it to you as soon as is possible for us. Just don't tell us too often because writing and editing and formatting and publishing takes a long, long time. But we're just as excited as you (because it means we are FREE! until the next installment begins...)
7. Ask about our current Work-in-Progress.
Please do not offer unsolicited ideas. If we ourselves tell you about a current WIP, or ask questions for it, this means we desire your help brainstorming. More often than not, there's things we miss. When we talk it out with somebody, it's easier to see holes and what's missing. But please, please do feel free to ask how we're doing (first of all, as we are people), and then how our current WIP is going. If we wish to continue the conversation, let us. Be attentive, a great listener, and patient. Sometimes we are hesitant to answer for a variety of reasons (from having not worked on our WIP lately to being exhausted from working on our WIP into the wee midnight hours to not wanting to spoil anything for you), but know that asking this question could be a danger to your time (we don't often get a chance to talk about our WIP with others. It might take a while, but we love it!) Be aware.
Writers, are there any other important ones that I have missed? How do these make you feel?