There are days as a columnist when I feel like words just won’t bind together for me on the topic I’m trying to write about. When I look at what I’ve written and feel like a 5th grader could do a better job, I sometimes wonder if anybody “out there” actually read my stuff. Then there are days like just recently, when I meet readers who stroke my ego.
I had a gentleman from Mitchell, SD who was vacationing with his wife in Custer State Park contact me yesterday because he had a group picture he wanted to give me of his coffee shop buddies. Every morning around 8 a.m. a group of guys, mostly retired farmers, meet at Cubby’s Gas Station and Convenience store in Mitchell for coffee, cookies, and conversation. I was told that the men in the picture were only about half of the group who normally show up but that they are all fans of my column and they oftentimes discuss my column when it comes out on Mondays in The Daily Republic.
It’s learning about readers like these guys that make my day, boost my morale, and re-energize my enthusiasm and inspiration for writing columns that readers will enjoy. The two things I love most about being a columnist is writing about stuff that strikes a chord with readers, and getting to meet them. I am a people person and embrace any opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
Each guy in the photo signed his name on the back for me and I got to keep it. It now sets in a very special place near where I spend a lot of time writing my column. I know that on days when I feel frustrated in trying to make my column interesting or wonder if there are any readers out there who will read my column, I can look at these guys and instantly feel encouraged. Reader response is a HUGE deal for me, because it’s the only way I can monitor my material and find out if I’m meeting my goal of making a connection with my readers.
My husband and I had a wonderful time talking to our Mitchell visitors and giving them a brief tour of the Kirk barn. You can be sure that the next time I am in Mitchell, I will be making an effort to show up for coffee at 8:00 a.m. at Cubby’s on the west side of Mitchell to meet my fans in person. Thanks guys!