Back in my finance days, I often associated with a department in charge of (pardon the professional talk) big things. If a company wanted to buy an oil tanker, or a fleet of train cars, or some other massive endeavor, they went to this department and things happened - things I didn't fully understand. In the end, the client had their oil tanker and that department earned a nice fee. Often, the client would show its appreciation by sending this department a little model of what they just financed. It looked like a toy boat or a model train car, but for the department it was a trophy, a sign of a successful project. They kept a trophy case full of little twenty-dollar trucks, trains, and ships to commemorate their multi-million-dollar deals.
I discovered this fun fact at one of the workshops I attend. I was workshopping my first book, The Book of Cain, and getting feedback for each chapter. Once I completed it, everyone congratulated me, offered more suggestions, and gave me emotional pats on the back for having completed a novel. I was also thoroughly chastised for my frequent misspelling of a pivotal word in the novel, "whiskey." (I often interchanged "whiskey" and "whisky" without knowing there is a substantial difference. Plus it was inconsistent.) I did make the corrections, revised the manuscript, and it went to press.
So now I had a book in my hands, with my name on it as the author. Me. James Pressler. Author. And I had this book as my proof. This was my multi-million-dollar tanker I had just created, and I was proud of it. Then, when I was signing books, one of my workshop cohorts came up to me with a little gift bag. She told me how much she loved the work, then proceeded to hand me four little airplane-serving-size bottles of whiskey - so I would never mix up the spelling again. To me, that was my trophy for the case. The book was great, but the little gifts reminded me that one person in particular was moved by my work, and that my words had meaning beyond something I created. I still have the bottles on my shelf.
Nowadays, for anything I write, I think about it beyond just what it means to me. I think about how this might move other people as well. Maybe it'll make them angry, or sad, or just get them thinking, but I hope that it moves them in some direction. In my mind, it always does have an effect on the audience, and when you write, remember that someone out there will be moved by your words, and you will be remembered for them. Let that be your trophy.