Last week someone got in touch with me after reading my blog. From her email, I learned a little about her past, her life now, and her dreams for her future. As I am relatively new to blogging and only manage to write sporadically between raising children and working, I have not had many comments from anyone reading the blog. Her email was therefore very welcome, especially when I learned that reading my blog had left her feeling less alone in her desire to become a writer.
Since I started this blog last year, writing each post has felt somewhat like writing a message and casting it out to sea. I click Publish, and then watch it appear on the screen, free for anyone to stumble upon. Receiving such an encouraging email was confirmation that the bottle had washed up on the shore somewhere, its message read and understood. It felt like an endorsement to continue writing, and gave me some assurance that my writing can benefit someone other than myself.
By coincidence, I read a piece by author and psychiatrist, Joanna Cannon. In it, she talks about taking two weeks much-needed annual leave whilst working as a doctor, and filled the entire break with reading. By the end of it, she had realised that words have the power to mend us. I have certainly found this to be true. Our bookshelves are crammed with books that have spoken to me in some way, and have helped me to heal. Even if the section I have found to be healing is only one paragraph within 400 pages of text, the message I have grasped remains clear within me. I have always loved reading. And it has been a joy to recognise that the more I write, the more I feel compelled to read. Every evening is spent reading newspaper articles, blog posts, or opinion pieces. Every night, I feel as if I have travelled to a world that belongs to someone else but feels as real as my own. I have never read so prolifically as I have since starting to write in earnest. The words I read urge me onwards, and I have found another truth; the more I read, the more I develop an urge to write. A self-propagating cycle of positivity begins.
Receiving an email of encouragement and thanks adds to this positivity. And so if you are reading this, thank you to the lady who emailed. You have given me a big nudge to keep writing.