Or 2, or 5, or something. Basically, no one showed up to the celebration of the release of Looking for Alaska. All that hard work, and seemingly nothing to show for it.
Until there was.
Now, over 10 years later, he’s traveling to sold-out tour stops all across the United States.
I was lucky enough to sit in the audience of one of these stops. In the same city where John wrote his first two books.
That’s how I heard this story. And his “return” to Chicago made it that much more special for all of us — and, I’m assuming, him included.
Four people. And that night there were over 1,000 people in the audience. And Naperville was only one of many instances of this.
Many writers start out as unknowns. As nobodies.
I don’t think we’re being fair to ourselves, when we mope around about only getting four views on our blog posts. Four hearts on our tweets. Four views on our Wattpad entires.
There’s no guarantee our numbers won’t grow. Just because we don’t have a loyal audience yet doesn’t mean we never will.
Remember. Four people.
And one of those four (or two, or five) may have been his boss. So there’s that.
So hey. If only four people read your blog, and one of them’s your boss, AT LEAST IT STILL COUNTS.
And if only four people read your blog, guess what? That’s no reason to just give up on writing to fully settle for a “real” job.
Four people is only the beginning.
You don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 10 years.
One time in 2009 I decided I was going to start a blog. I didn’t have an audience, I’d never really published anything — I had a self-published proof copy of a book I wrote and an anonymous essay in a magazine and that was it.
But I decided to start a blog and it’s 2017 now and there are like 600 of you or something.
You. Never. Know.
For the first three years of blogging, literally four people followed me.
Did I quit? Nah. And neither should you.
The one thing successful writers have in common is that they don’t quit. At least not forever. Even if they do quit for a little while, they always come back.
Don’t walk away from this. No matter how long you’ve been trying. Don’t you dare give up.
You don’t know how long it’s going to take for all your hard work to pay off.
At first, it probably won’t.
One day, it might. Someday, it will.
Today, four people.
Ten years from today: 4 million. Maybe.
Your timeline moves a lot slower than you want it to. I know. If there were a fast-forward button, you’d press it in a heartbeat.
But there isn’t. So there’s that whole “patience” thing you don’t want to deal with.
Deal with it.
You’ll be glad you did, one day, when you have an audience who can’t wait to read what you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into.
It’s worth all the words.
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.