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Would you continue writing even if no one were to read your work ever again? Does that act of expression supersede the attention your work will garner once published? Or would you write only for the promise of money and adulation?
We’re all on this site (WordPress) to share our content and in this case, I’m talking about writing. Writers who are blogging should take note of this post (Sorry photographers and visual artists). Let’s keep it real with each other, at one point we’ve all written something that we didn’t deem as publish-worthy, but the act of writing can be a cathartic experience and that’s the most important thing to remember. Take Emily Dickison for example, who was a renowned poet. She wrote over 1,800 poems without the intention of the public reading her work. With that in mind, it’s fair to believe that she and other poets like Frankz Kafka who wrote a lot but enlisted his friend to burn his manuscripts after his death were not confident and ready to be critiqued for their art. Ironically, this came from a man who once said: “I am made of literature and cannot be anything else”. In spite of all this, their work is still highly regarded and published today.
In an age where technology is highly advanced, it has opened vast venues for your work to be discovered, so unless you’re writing a diary and putting your writings in a “vault” know that there’s a good chance your content will be seen. Furthermore, is there a benefit to writing just for writing’s sake? We are so inundated by social media which has permeated our minds to the point where the passion for writing is in a feeble state and all that is sought after is likes and follows. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great feeling when your work is seen and appreciated with engagements (comments) but you need to have a purpose for your writing because being seen isn’t enough.
Just write it
As children, a lot of things to us were a novelty and curiosity negates any thought of being judged for what we try. However, this began to change once we grew older and became exposed to criticism and praise for everything we do. This in turn caused us to be self-conscious. In other words, as a child, we had fewer inhibitions and usually didn’t allow our judgments to hinder our flow but as we grew older, things changed, and no matter our endeavors, approval was always on the mind. Furthermore, when children draw for their parents and want to tell a story drawing, all that matters is the process and not so much “Will they like it”? or “What will they think about it”?. Those questions are answered right before drawing because since it’s for their parents (audience), the child expects they will like it. At that time in our lives, it didn’t matter if the doodle was awful because no effort was lost because every bit helped build motivation by putting out bad work. What this essentially means in the case of writing is that there’s no way around paying your dues for the craft. All you have left is to “just write” even if it’s for yourself. And with that, this will help you improve your writing style and your content voice.
The “Audience Less” mindset
Alright, I know it’s hard to not want to write without sharing that fine masterpiece, and I’m there with you on that, but hear me out. If you’ve ever had a journal or written one of those “letters to my older self” challenges, then you’ll realize that you’ve been writing for an audience of one this whole time. Equally important, there are bloggers out there (some on this very site) posting content to practically no audience and are seeing little to no engagements. They’re essentially writing for one audience member (themself) and as a result, sometimes frustration takes hold and they begin to lose the determination to continue writing content and with that, they exit blogging altogether. In regard to that, individuals who have this mindset place more value on approval and acceptance from their desired audience and not on writing. You can’t guarantee someone will view, like, and or even resonate with your work, what matters is the energy you put into creating something you feel proud of and the confidence it gives your spirit.
In summary, you notice how I didn’t provide any tips right? Well, that was on purpose because the ONLY tip you need is to write without withering to external pressures. You’ll be surprised at how your mind will go into “experimental mode” when you’re writing without anyone to appease. I’ll keep writing as long as I can live, what about you?