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I love to write. It’s a pleasure I discovered later in life, and even then it was only through the encouragement of a friend. That’s an important part of the picture because, for me, writing is both intensely personal and interpersonal. I write about what moves me or delights me or provokes me, but always with one ear listening from your perspective. The cliché that “writers write” is inarguably true, but I think most writers write so that readers will read. And in my case at least, so that readers will read and respond.

Would I write if every page were to be tossed into the fire, never to be read by another? Yes, but not as much, and certainly not with as much care. Throwing some thoughts down on paper is one thing, but putting my heartbeats, my childhood tears, my soul’s secret questions out there for friends and strangers to read is something altogether different, and you can be damn sure I will take the time to re-read what I’ve written and check my commas and semicolons before I publish, both because you are worth it, and so am I.

What follows is familiar to anyone who has ever published on Medium. “Was it good enough?” “Was it interesting?” “Will anyone even read it?” “Oh God! What if they read it and don’t like it?”

And then the recommends and responses begin, and you tell me how you feel, and you tell me your story, and you and I connect through something we have in common. We might exchange just a few words, or we might weave a friendship through many conversation threads. That, to me, is the completion of the writing process. I don’t just write for me, I don’t just write for you. I write so that you and I can, for a brief moment, touch.

Being a writer is an introvert’s art form. Writers quietly stay out of sight. Most are never published in a traditional sense. We watch from the shadows, hoping somebody notices our words. We, like dancers, musicians, and painters, professional or amateur, are artists. We may be shy about it, but we are artists nonetheless.

I have noticed a recent trend on Medium. Some writers are including a PayPal link at the bottom of their stories. At first this made me feel a bit uncomfortable, and even more so at the thought of doing it myself. What concerned me was that my readers would feel similarly uncertain and might quietly tiptoe by without leaving a recommend or even a hint that they’d stopped in for a visit. They might fear I would become aware they were here and gone without compensating me monetarily for my writing. But then I put it in the context of a street performer, a musician who stands on a street corner and sets out her hat. Her songs are free for all. If you enjoyed them, your tip is a gift for her, freely given and happily received.

So, in an effort to honor myself as an artist, I will now be adding the PayPal link at the bottom of my stories. Consider it my hat on the street corner. My hope is, if you take the time to read my story, you will let me know you’ve been here, and you will give me the gift of your response one way or another. Here are three options:

1. A recommendation. Just click that little green heart!

2. A response (positive or negative). This is where the magic happens.

3. A small tip. Just like dropping a coin in the hat.

An acknowledgment of any nature is greatly appreciated.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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