I was reminded this week about how great it is to have a reader. I'm not talking about people who read things that have already been published (though that's great, too). I'm talking about someone who is glad that you're writing and wants to read your work. I have a friend who likes to read my stories. She's not a writer, herself, though she's an avid reader. And Wednesday night at dinner at church she asked me if I had anything else for her to read. That did my heart good. She listened with interest as I described what I've been writing and I promised to give her copies of a couple of stories.
Stephen King says, in his book On Writing, that a writer should have a reader in mind while writing. His ideal reader is his wife, who is another writer. But it doesn't have to be another writer. It just needs to be a reader. I think there are advantages to having a reader who isn't related to you. I think that person has a little more distance and can maybe be a little more objective. But I'm not sure there has to be a lot of objectivity, just a love of reading and a willingness to say "This worked" or "This didn't work." My friend read my novel and gave me some very good feedback about what she liked and what she thought was missing. She's read some of my stories, too. So now I'll see what she says about the two I sent her the other day.
In a totally unrelated matter, I know that one of the cardinal rules of blogging is to post regularly. I've been breaking that rule lately -- between the trip to Iowa and a big job to get done this week (a job that came to me on Tuesday!) I haven't posted much. It may not improve a whole lot during the next week or so, since we have the K-State Research & Extension annual conference this week and my boss and a co-worker and I are presenting a workshop about copyright and plagiarism. But I'll try to post a couple of times.