“We’re sorry to see you go..”
It was an email meant to go to one person who left my Get Your Writing Done program because of a health issue.
One email gone rogue.
It didn’t just go to everyone currently active on my email list. It went to twice that number.
Would the spam gods taint my reputation forever with the Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook gods?
20 Minutes of Panic
I fretted as the confused emails poured in, starting around 9 pm last night.
“Will I be charged for this? I never signed up for anything.”
“What did I do to get removed from your list?”
Reading the distress in many of the emails from my community members and readers, I felt panicked myself. I started out answering the emails one by one. Where people wrote a note of thanks for my weekly newsletter or articles, or told me how much The Joy of Writing Journal meant to them, I responded with gratitude, asked about their own writing and thanked them for any feedback or kind words.
The emails rolled in, however, way faster than I could type!
And Then the Gift of the Error Became Clear
A quick email and then text to my assistant Geri provided some calm in the storm. Geri is an amazing person. I’ve had only one assistant in my entire career and I know how incredibly blessed I am to have Geri as a friend, colleague and support. No matter the late hour and that she’d been working late earlier to put together aspects of our Thanksgiving sale. She was on it and I soon received the Oops email meant to put our newsletter subscribers at ease.
Now, I turned my attention back to the emails as they continued to arrive. With the issue basically addressed (The “Oops” apology email had gone out and Geri planned to call Infusionsoft in the morning to find out WHY this happened and how the email could go to people no longer subscribed), I could turn to the emails with a lighter heart and an openness that revealed something lovely…how much people cared.
You cared about writing.
You cared about your books and other work.
You cared about our relationship.
Many asked how I was doing. You cared about me.
Some assured me that though you’d not been in touch, you were working away on your writing and appreciated the articles. You knew I cared about you.
I imagined those who wrote to me, working away in private—on laptops, in notebooks, on scraps of paper and napkins, and at your desk, or in a sunny writing nook, in libraries, on a deck, in a hammock, in bed…writing away with purpose. At times the writing flowed and at times you needed a nudge, some inspiration and, if lucky, I provided that to you at the right time, right place, and you were again engaged in your calling to write.
Writing, Caring and Meaning
I wrote back to each person, feeling more and more connected to those names and emails on our newsletter list. I’d received a new sense of some of these folks and many of you came alive for me in a way I hadn’t experienced when I only knew certain people as names on a list.
It struck me how I tended to interact with a small fraction of the people in my community—those who joined my programs, signed up for coaching, commented in the Facebook group or joined the free webinars and workshops I occasionally offered.
But there were other subscribers I never heard from, and who I heard from now. I realized that my work—the articles, the books, the blog posts, the tips—it meant something to them, to you. Even those whom I’d never interacted with before had been receiving something valuable and feeling a connection to me and the support I offered in various ways.
This realization, however obvious in the abstract, now became solid and real to me (hence, the word REALization perhaps). I REALized, or remembered, in a deep, visceral way how writing connected me to people I’d never met. Gave me the means to help people I’d never met. Providing an opening to share whatever wisdom and gifts I had to offer. We need each other. We lift each other up. We inspire each other.
A Sense of Urgency to Write, Publish, Share
This “mistake” created within me a new sense of urgency about my unfinished projects—the many more books in various stages of process—snippets, chapter drafts, edited chapters, an entire book just waiting for a final round or two of editing…
As you know, it’s a whole lotta work to write a book.
Even more work to spread the word, often one reader at a time.
Sometimes being a writer can feel lonely. Sometimes it can even feel like a burden to hustle to get one’s work out there. But last night and this morning, I felt the great privilege it is to be a writer. To be in love with the written word. To share that love with like minded people. To know how much it matters to write and share one’s writing.
I humbly (and I hope that word doesn’t sound pretentious but it truly is the word that captures how I feel today) thank you for allowing me to serve you, to share, to celebrate our writing together.
Thanks, too, to the email gods and their mischievous, mysterious ways.
And thank YOU, for being part of my life.
I LOVE to hear from readers. Comment on a blog post; reply to an email. Let me know what goes on in your mind, your heart, your writing. Keep letting me know how I can further help you to share your wisdom, insights and gifts with your readers.
If I have done one thing with this post, I hope it’s to remind you that your readers are waiting for you. If you’re not writing, if you’re struggling, make the time for your writing. Get the structure, support or accountability you need to finish your work. YOUR readers are waiting to be touched by you, moved by you, helped by you.
If you don’t have the budget for a writing program or coaching, you can find a writing buddy and keep each other accountable. Or join the community in the free private Facebook group.
(Okay, and here’s a weird little aside, I usually see two or three requests to join that Facebook group every week. This morning, in grabbing the link, I see 10 requests to join. Did we have a link in the footer of that oops email? Did the oops on its own inspire folks to recommit to their creative process? Whassup?)
Ahem, where was I? There are many ways to get the support you need to get your work out there and into the world. The rewards are many, the bliss—supreme! Go write. Keep writing. Get your words out there. It matters.