Posted in Longreads and Essays

Midweek Essay – How To Keep Writing (When Nobody Is Reading)

So you are writing. But nobody is reading.

I know the feeling. This isn’t just a form of expression. It is about sharing myself. It is about connection. Statistics and Google Analytics scratch the surface, but a bar graph cannot quantify whether my words touched someone. That doesn’t keep me from obsessing about those same bar graphs though.

So here is how to keep writing when nobody (it seems) is reading:

1) Write

It may sound simple but you and I both know it isn’t. The fire of the muse remains burning when we continue to fan the flame. So write and keep writing. Find the rhythm that works best for you. For me I have found (at least lately) that daily wordsmithing works best. But that has not always been the case and I remain open to that changing at any time.

2) Stop Obsessing Over Stats

They have their place, but not if your mood follows the ups and downs of the graph. Limit the amount of times you look at stats. It may be hard at first but once a week or a month is enough to get an idea of the important facts. One thing I am seriously considering is to limit the notifications I receive.

3) Avoid the Emily Dickinson Syndrome

Emily Dickinson became well-known after she died when someone discovered her poems in a drawer. That is my biggest fear – that I die unknown and even worse, that my words die with me. I can become paralyzed if I let myself dwell on what ifs. So I say this to myself and to you. Stay in the present. Let the words stand on their own.

4) Avoid the Emily Dickinson Syndrome Part Deux

Ms. Dickinson was a recluse. You don’t have to be. Find a group of honest and encouraging authors to meet with on a regular basis. Find opportunities to read your words out loud. Online communities like those here at WordPress are great, but check out some local options too. You are not alone.

5) Trust Your Muse

You are a writer. Not because you are being read. And not for any other reason other than quite simply that you write. That is who you are. Too often in the past I have forgotten who I am and suddenly the muse has dried up. Or at least gone silent for a while.

6) Write

Yes, I know I already mentioned this, but it is worth mentioning again. Writers write.

Writing is a conversation. It begins with that inner dialogue and hopefully, spreads outside each of us to others. Regardless, keep listening and talking.


(Originally posted April 2015)

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