Writing isn't necessarily something one chooses to do, often it is something one can't help doing. In a way it is like therapy, an outpouring of insecurities and obsessions that must find an outlet of escape before driving you insane. For me, writing is such a personal thing, something done completely in private, that it is easy to forget sometimes that the things you write are actually read by anyone, and even easier to ignore the potential impact those stories might have on people you've never met. Because of this, it becomes so much more meaningful to hear from a reader that I've had an influence on.
Recently I received an email that reminded me of what it means to write for teenagers and what a wonderful responsibility it can be. There are times when people will ask if I ever plan on writing "real" books, meaning books for adults. Besides the obvious insult that comes with that question, there is a failure to understand the importance teen fiction plays in the lives of its readers. Adults can read a book, and it may or may not stay with them after they close the pages, but it rarely makes a life-changing impact on them. On the other hand, teenagers often make strong emotional connections to the stories that touch them. In my opinion, writing books for them is a more valuable contribution to the world.
These are the kind of messages that make all the work and struggle worthwhile.