Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"P" Is For People

A young gentleman approached me in the bookstore this afternoon.  He asked if I was Paul, and after I nodded, he asked what my book was about.

His question caught me off guard.  Although this was a customer I have seen regularly (he tends to come in during the late afternoon to read), I was stumped to learn he knew I was writing a book.  I assumed he overheard me talking or glanced at my laptop and put two and two together.  I later learned a barista outed me as the "local writer" - a label I find both complimentary and confounding.

Since rudeness is not in my DNA, I entertained his inquiries and we had a nice conversation.  He expressed an interest in my writing and subject matter of my book.  Since I was in a mood where I felt like talking, he lucked out and caught me on a good day.  Our discussion escalated when my teaching career inspired the book, and he mentioned he'd be starting college as an Elementary Education major.

The guy made several comments that reminded me of myself six years ago.  Had I closed my eyes and listened only to the words, I could swear it was me speaking.  Our philosophy and ideas are similar.  His passion and enthusiasm for education was evident; he was entering this journey with the right attitude - for all the right reasons.  I hope someone gives him a chance.  It will not be an easy road, but I wish him well.

On my drive home, I thought about our conversation on a deeper level.  As writers, we put great effort into building our platform.  We blog and tweet and interact on facebook.  We join critique groups and attend conferences.  But nine times out of ten, we are interacting with other writers.

Today, I interacted with a potential reader, and realized this is a population I don't pay enough attention.  Should my novel ever land shelf space in that same bookstore, he might see it and remember me.  That could prompt him to read it.  If he likes it, he might tell a friend.  That's cool to think about.

Social media is a great tool for writers.  Nobody will deny that.  But, we must remember the benefits of face-to-face contact - with fellow writers and readers.  You never know when you're speaking to someone who will love your story as much as you do.  The person I met today is on my side.  He gave me hope that an audience is out there waiting to read my words.

It was a good day.

Oh, and if anyone is interested, this is my 100th post.  Umm...yay?


  1. Great post, and great point. Also, congratulations on the 100th post! That's awesome. And also congrats on being considered the "local writer." I think that's an honor in and of itself.

  2. I love this post! When I've been at my computer too long I feel like I just have to go out somewhere and be around other people.

  3. Yaaay for post #100! Cool. Yep, good to make connections with other people/readers as well as the supportive writerly community! Same with on Twitter; I read where it's good not to just Follow other writers. Some people may be your future readers! And even if not, it's fun to interact with other people. They can color and enhance our writing in more ways than one. :)

  4. Congratulations on 100 posts!
    Sometimes we don't think about the readers as much. And sometimes we think we know who those readers will be, only to find out our assumptions are wrong.

  5. Although I have a small audience already salivating for me to finish my novel -- family and close friends -- you're right, it always feels fantastic when a stranger or mere acquaintance is hooked by my ideas and want to know more.

    Best of luck building your audience one conversation at a time, and congrats on 100!

  6. Congratulations!! *throws confetti*

    In 100 posts, I hope you can see what I have seen, which is a wonderful progression of your level of comfort with this blog. You seem to be finding out a lot about yourself and your writing with it. That can only lead to even better posts. :)

  7. Happy 100th! I remember you wanting like 50 people to follow you and now look at you, you blogger celeb you! ;)

  8. Very interesting blog. I enjoyed checking your posts out. Congrats on 100 posts.


  9. Thanks for the kind words, everyone. It is hard to believe I posted 100 times - I still feel so new. I'm looking forward to my one year anniversary in May and an opportunity to reflect on the way this blog developed. Have a great weekend, all!


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