I have learned to loathe a lot of writing advice over the years, but I greatly appreciated this mid-career take by Nancy Werlin. Along with a recent Twitter thread by Isabel Yap, there’s a lot there that rings true to me. I’m also keeping this fable close to hand; it echoes something I’ve told myself in my better moments, but that I am quick to forget, especially when I have stories on sub or it’s award season. (Both are true now—this is definitely an example of synchronicity, for when do I normally find the time to listen to the YA world?)
There’s a sort of fable I tell myself. I imagine that a single reader has picked up one of my books for free at the city dump. The book has lost its cover and front matter, so that there’s no sign of my name anywhere. The reader reads the book. The reader loves the book—for a while, it’s her favorite and her friend. She never knows who I am, and I never know about her. And let’s suppose further that this is the only reader there ever is, for that book. Let’s say that nobody else ever liked it. But for this one reader, for whatever reason, this was the book.
In terms of my purpose in the world, this has to be enough.