Starbucks, 10:34 AM, Monday
Person: "Whoa!" *Admires my laptop, then sees the giant crack in the screen* "How do you see anything like that?!"
Me: *Chortling into my poison of choice, a caramel frappucino* "I...sort of position the windows so I can see through the cracks. It works pretty well! This is just my writing laptop, so..."
Person: "Oh, you write? Cool, cool. What kinds of books?"
Me: "I'm not a real author just yet, but...uh...Young Adult books, mostly." (I say this and almost cringe, thinking they'll scoff.)
Person: "Nice! So, like Twilight, or like Looking for Alaska?"
Me: *Struck silent with shock that they know a YA book other than Twilight* "Well, there's fantasy in it, but it's contemporary fantasy set in a suburb..."
Person: "So more like City of Bones? I'm picky about my books, but I liked that one."
Me: *brightens* "Yeah! It's actually been compared to that by the people who read the manuscript! Except my main character is a rude punk who's being chased by the government, and there's aliens."
-Here's where we talk for two hours about books, and I nerd about the details of my book. The Person reads the first chapter on my broken screen while I check my mail surreptiously on my phone-
Person: *Looks up when she's done* Can you send me an email when this comes out or something? Seriously, when you get published email me and tell me it's out so I can buy it, okay?
Me: *feels a little like exploding into a pile of happy goop right there*
Honestly, random affirmations that what you're doing isn't so useless after all are so, so great. The high lasts for hours! I'm still smiling from this, and it happened YESTERDAY. It means a lot to me. Writing means a lot to me! But when someone completely unrelated to you likes your writing, genuinely? That's even better. That's the best. That's all I could ask for.
Keep it up, writer-friends. Whether you're published and wading through that next book, riding the submission-train around, struggling to write the perfect query, or still tenderly caring for the baby seed that is your unfinished WIP, just remember that I like your writing. I send it unending love and encouragement from a million miles away. I, me, this one small person in the sea of many, likes your writing. I love your writing.
Someone once told me success isn't a number, it's a heart.
(It's not a lake, it's an ocean.)
I think I understand now!