Write Like Everyone’s Reading

Just keep going.

I’m a lot like you.

Sometimes I get discouraged. Some days it feels like I’m doing a whole bunch of work for nothing, like no one cares, like it’s not worth my time.

Occasionally I wonder if I should just give up writing and settle into a job that’s easier. Quieter. Invisible.

Because writing isn’t this thing you can do quietly, if you want to do it for a living. Even if you use a pseudonym of some kind, people are still going to respond to it. They don’t know it’s you, but you do.

If anyone ever responds at all. Isn’t negative feedback better than none?

Of course, no matter how frustrated or discouraged I get, I’m not going to quit writing. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now, and taking things too personally would be a terrible reason to give up a dream that’s quickly becoming my reality.

And still. Still, I find myself in that lonely place where I feel like I’m screaming as loud as I can into the void, wondering if anyone hears me.

But there’s something you should know. Maybe it’s something you really need to hear.

This feeling does not last forever.

And it does not one day disappear without a trace.

It comes and goes. Confidence and doubt take turns whispering in your ear. Some days you’ll hate feeling invisible. Others, you’ll cherish it.

But when you are feeling like your words don’t matter, the easiest thing to do is to write like your words matter anyway.

Write as if thousands of readers are waiting for your words to appear in their inboxes.

Write like someone can’t officially start their day until they’ve read your blog post or gotten through a chapter of your book.

Even if none of that’s true. It doesn’t matter. Write like it is.

It’s not about pretending. It’s about attitude. It’s about living the life you want to live, whether you have thousands of people behind you or not.

Confidence draws eyes. Hard work pays off.

You might not see it now, but it makes a difference.

And if you mope around the internet feeling sorry for yourself because you’re not where you want to be, no one’s going to wait around until you figure out how you’re going to get there.

Enthusiasm. Effort. Expectations. When I first started my blog, I dragged all these things along with me. I knew I wanted to be a writer. And that’s how I acted. I wrote to thousands, even though I only had two regular readers. Not because I was in denial, but because I believed that could become a reality.

Now it is.

Even though there are days I still feel like I could be doing better, I remind myself that as long as I keep living the life I want to live — as if everyone is watching, as if everyone is reading — I can go wherever I want to go. Nothing can stop me.

You may not be fearless. But you are capable.

You may not be “successful.” But you could be. As long as you refuse to give up.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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9 thoughts on “Write Like Everyone’s Reading

  1. I did an event last year where sales were dismal. I had a brand-new book on my table, less than three weeks old, along with the rest of my work. On the second day (of four), I sold two books and went home to cry.

    My next-door neighbor at the event was Harry Turtledove. Yeah, that Harry Turtledove … with a backlog of awards longer than I am tall. On day three, I got back to the event and asked if I could talk to him about something. He said that I could, and I asked if he ever got discouraged.

    “Yes. On a daily basis,” he replied. “It happens to every single one of us when we have something we’re proud of writing and people don’t respond. You’re not alone.”

    “So, I’m not crazy,” I replied.

    “I didn’t say anything about *that,*” he responded, with a twinkle in his eye. “But you are not alone.”

    I hold on to that in moments when I wonder why I continue to put my words out there.

    Thank you for this article.

  2. Precisely why I moved to public blogging and writing! It helps for accountability, too. It’s all too easy to get lost in the concept of followers, readers, traffic, etc…when 20-some years ago most casual writers on the internet (before we even had the word “blog”) were just sounding off into the abyss.

    1. Totally agree about public accountability. I’m still blogging because I worry you all would be lost without me, except that’s definitely not true, BUT IT KEEPS ME GOING. :P

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