"No One is Going to Read This Anyways"
Getting past one of the foremost challenges facing many writers.
First things first: if you write, nothing external is required to validate your merit, your voice, or the value of what you have to say.
It doesn’t matter if you’re composing a haiku, a fart joke, or a thousand page novel. No one has the experiences, perspectives, and insights that you alone are able to put forth into the world.
Yet one of the greatest challenges facing those who write for others to read, is the motivation to keep going when we don’t have those million followers that were perhaps a part of our grand vision when first putting our work out there.
And it really does help to have your work read: receiving feedback and inspiration from engagement and enjoyment of your work is a wonderful thing. It’s motivating to get paid, to reach people, and to have some sort of measurable impact.
So, especially if you’ve been writing for some time, and reality hasn’t alignedwith that grand vision you initially had, it’s easy to throw your hands up and say:
“Well no one is going to read this any ways.”
When the going gets tough, as can often be the case when writing, this thought can be a scapegoat to justify not putting our best work out there. And, especially in my moments of struggle, this idea has added fuel to the self-deprecating fire.
It can be debilitating to my motivation, and my intention.
The idea that few people may read my work has led me to rush through pieces, subsequently compromising personal breakthrough, perseverance and the joy that comes from trying to put into words what doesn’t come out easily.
I’ve found a number of things helpful in combatting this limiting belief, and hope they serve you as well.
Revisiting my Intention
I always said, starting out, that my goal was just to write. My work was, and is, as much for me as it is for others.
Writing has been tremendously helpful for my own personal process, enjoyment, and growth. And so, when I started, I was wary of the potential to instead start using other metrics (views, money, etc.) to define and motivate me.
I therefore told myself that even if my Mom remained my only reader, it wouldn’t matter. I could still grow and experience myself through writing, and have this platform as a chronicle of (and catalyst for) my development.
After all, when one of my primary goals is to help and entertain people, “success” isn’t predicated on how many people I reach. I can’t quantify the impact that helping even just one person can have.
What’s more is that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. After all, what could “enough” people possibly mean?
A million readers? A billion?
Even if I become the most famous writer of my time, my name will eventually fade. And so too will all the people that read my work.
That’s just the law of impermanence.
This has been something I continually come back to as a source of comfort and motivation to keep going when I’m faced with the “no one is going to read this anyways” thing.
And the feedback and engagement that I do receive? It’s just a nice benefit.
But be Grateful for the Eyes That You DO Get
There are so many platforms today that enable us to get eyes on our work, even if we’re just starting out. Thats why it’s so great to write on sites like Medium.
A few years ago, having a few hundred views on the first several articles I’d written would’ve been a game changer.
And, whats more, I’m doing exactly: reaching hundreds of people. While that may not result in a massive paycheck, it’s still gratifying if I allow it be.
It’s in the “no one is going to read this anyways” moments where I often rush through my writing.
If I’m faced with a mental conflict or challenge that I don’t know how to articulate, I’m likely to gloss over something that could be important and impactful to my work.
Slowing down, taking a step back if need be, helps me to overcome what would otherwise degrade the quality of what I’m doing. It reminds me of the importance of adhering to my own values and standards of what my best work is.
Finally, after every piece I finish, whether for a company I’m writing for or a personal post, I give myself a pat on the back and asked what I learned from this writing.
I consider what I most enjoyed about it, and ask how I can get better the next time I write.
And, after all’s said and done, it matters less and less to me how many people read what I’m writing.
I hope this piece was helpful for you.
I’d love to hear if you have similar experiences, if you have, how you’ve deal with them.
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Thanks for reading!