I am by no means a professional writer, but I like to write. I feel like I have something meaningful to say and writing it down is my preferred means of expression.
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
Of course, as most writers, I hope that somebody would read what I write. Since I don’t have a huge (if any) following, one of the best ways for me to share my work is via the social media. I try not to spam, but if I have an article that I consider to be helpful, I will share it more than once in hopes of maximizing it’s chances of getting noticed.
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.
Things have always been rough for writers. In the past, however, the feedback loop was much longer. Most of the work never got published and even when it did, authors would not see the feedback in real time. This delay, I am sure, came with a pain of it’s own, but it was a different kind of pain than experience by modern writers.
From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.
Today, it’s easy to get your work published and seen by thousands of readers via the social media. Unfortunately, social media tends to bring out the worst in people. For example, I often see two co-workers discuss politics in a reasonable manner at a lunch table and turn to complete lunatics when discussing similar issues online.
What this means for writers, is that they are often seeing the rough side of the world. In my experience, for every one articles that becomes mildly successful, I have to write five that make me feel like a complete failure. Often times people jump to a conclusion, assume the worst, and make fun of a new or unusual idea. Sometimes, the very same idea presented to a different audience or in a different light become popular and accepted.
My fear is that this negative feedback loop stops a lot of people from writing. Don’t let it get to you! It’s never pleasant, but it’s something that every writer must deal with. If you feel like you have something meaningful to share, go for it. Chances are for every one person that will make fun of you there will be five people that would find it helpful. But they will never find it, if you never write it.
I find this quote particularly helpful when things get rough for me:
“If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.”
Write when you have something important to say for the greater good. When you are done, turn it over to the universe. Your job is done. If people like it – good, if they don’t – good.
Update 04/26/2017: I no longer recommend practicing self promotion. It’s not worth the effort and is emotionally draining. Instead I recommend writing with an understanding that it will be seen by few people. This approach free’s up a surprising amount of creative energy, that otherwise would be wasted on submitting links to social media sites, reading comments etc.