I had an article published in the September 2011 issue of Outdoor Photography, entitled Where There's A Will... It looked (in a fairly light-hearted way) at why photographers need a 'last will and testament' in this digital age.
A few days ago, I was reading the October issue of Outdoor Photography and read a letter from one reader praising my article. He said that whilst he always knew he ought to get a will written, my article pointed out the drawbacks of failing to do this. He's since seen a solicitor and now has a will.
I feel proud to have been part of this. That reader now has a will because of something that I wrote. Should he die tomorrow (and I hope he doesn't!), his family will find the administration of sorting out his finances much simpler. In a small way, I have influenced that reader's life. (Or perhaps I mean the aftermath of his death!) Seeing his letter in the magazine though, brought it home that what we write can affect people's lives.
Incidentally, I wrote a similar article on this topic for Writing Magazine, and you can read the article on my website here. All writers need wills, as well as photographers. (Actually, being blunt, EVERYBODY should have a will.)
A similar thing happened last week. As a member of the Society of Authors, I receive their quarterly publication, The Author. In it was an article I'd written about the benefits of writers taking a walk, getting away from their desks to stretch their muscles, having been hunched up over a keyboard for several hours at a time. I discussed, not only the physical benefits, but the mental benefits of walking too.
Within 48 hours of receiving my copy, I began getting emails from other society members, saying how much they'd enjoyed my article. Some authors contacted me to say they agreed with what I'd said, whilst others emailed to say that following my piece they too were going to give this a try.
And if you want to read why I think all writers should be walking away from their desks on a regular basis, then follow this link.
So, next time you have something published, don't just buy a copy of the magazine with your piece in it. Buy the next issue too, to find out whether your words moved the readers to write in too.