It's always gratifying when you hear from a reader how something in your novel has had an impact on them - be it funny, sad, thought-provoking etc. But the best kind of impact is to inspire someone in some way. A reader recently told me how four words in a sentence one of my characters (Kate) spoke helped her through the last semester of her university degree. Bogged down and discouraged, she was on the verge of giving up but when she read the words "sheer force of will", it gave her the focus and determination to just push through with her own studies and finish what she'd started.
Hearing from this reader, I was reminded that every word we expend as a writer has the ability to inspire somebody and that in itself is a magical thing. Using the words "sheer force of will" seemed like a natural thing to include in my story line and it does go to show that every character that is written by an author, has some little piece of them embedded within, no matter how dissimilar they may appear on the surface.
Below is a little poem I have also used over the years to remind myself to never, ever give up.
Don't Quit! (Author Unknown)
When the going gets tough, as it sometimes will
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
When you want to smile but you just have to sigh
When care is wearing you down a bit
Rest if you must - but don't you quit
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another go
Often the goal is nearer than it seems
To a faint and faltering person
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup
And he learned too late when the night slipped down
How close he came to the golden crown
Success if failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you can never tell how close you are
It might be near when it seems so far
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seems worst that you must not quit!