I recently wrote a satirical post about NFL referees who decided to eat at Applebee’s right after a game. And the week before that, I wrote about an entrepreneurial cat who opened a corner store. Some people may “get” the dry humor of these posts and think they’re funny, but most people will not. But I’m absolutely certain they are fun and enjoyable to the one person whose opinion really matters; me. write what you like
More than ever, I’m realizing how important it is to be pleased with the content I write and not worrying if others will like it…or even if they’ll understand it. If it makes sense to me…if I was inspired to write it in the first place…and if I like the way it turned out, I will stand by it and even promote it so that others will find it.
One benefit of writing in obscurity is that there are no deadlines to meet and no editors insisting I write this way or that way. I write as often as I can and I write whatever I want. If someone visits my site and is uninterested or turned off by what they find, that’s ok. I’m sure it happens often. I’ll still have a job, a roof over my head and food to eat.
Write What You Like
I get that some people are blogging for a living…or at least trying to. They need subscribers, clicks and ad revenue, so therefore they must write about whatever topics are going to produce them. And while I respect that effort, I must say it doesn’t appeal to me at all. To me, it’s like collecting cans in order to make money recycling them. It does make money, but it’s just not worth the time or the effort, in my opinion. Plus, it’s boring. It would feel like work to me and I just know I would lose interest.
If, on the other hand, I stick to the issues that matter to me and someone likes it, shares it and comes back to read more…that is very rewarding to me. They’re actually connecting with me, not some SEO-friendly version of me that isn’t real. Perhaps dozens or even a hundred people come and go before someone comes along who genuinely likes my stuff. That is the reader I am waiting for, someone who connects with my thoughts, ideas and concerns.
In the first four months of 2016, during the election primaries, I understood the uneasy feelings of political conservatives. We saw our votes being divided among too many candidates, enabling Donald Trump to win state after state with only 35% of the vote. It was like a slow car crash that we couldn’t do anything to prevent.
Wait For Your Audience
I wrote about those concerns in several posts. Lots of people read and shared them because they thought and felt much of what I was thinking and feeling. Of course, all our fears became reality when Trump won the nomination. But on the bright side, I connected with many like-minded people and had some great exchanges with them.
A patient blogger is like a shopkeeper who doesn’t mind when people walk right past his store…paying him no attention. They don’t go into his store or look at his merchandise. His products, his store and even he himself are merely part of the scenery. He’s just one of many merchants in the background. He gets about as much attention as the wallpaper.
He takes note of a passerby who briefly inspects one of his items. They pick it up, look it over, put it down and keep on walking. This happens several times a day, but it doesn’t bother him anymore.
He can tell when someone sees the value in what he’s selling. He knows he’s got a buyer when they repeatedly put it down and pick it back up. When they ask him certain questions, he knows it’s just a matter of time before their money is in his register.
This payoff would never happen if he had nothing to sell or if he was impatient. In the same way, no one can read your latest content if you’re not writing it or not making it available for others to read.
Don’t Wait For Your Audience
Unlike the shopkeeper, you and I don’t have to just stand there and wait for people to come by and check out our stuff. I’m not a fan of the “Built It And They Will Come” approach. If you took the time to write something, you might as well promote it.
There are several ways you can pay to put your content in front of new, potential readers. There are also many free and effective ways to achieve the same goal. Some of us have time and money to promote our work…and some of us don’t. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, just do as much as you can. Don’t just passively wait for your audience to show up.
It’s great that your content is live and available 24/7 on your blog where anyone can stumble upon it. I’m pleasantly surprised each morning to find that some random person in some part of the world was reading an old post of mine in the middle of the night. I’m glad they wandered onto my website on their own without me having to lead them there. But this is a very slow way of developing an audience.
Actively doing the work of leading people to your content, on the other hand, is a much more rewarding and faster way to build an audience out of nothing. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re proud of what you’re putting out there. Make sure it’s exactly what you wanted to say. A week or two after you post it, when it’s no longer fresh on your mind, read it out loud to yourself and make sure the sentences flow and the ideas click. You’ll quickly hear the little edits that need to be made.
Somebody Out There Likes Your Stuff
If you feel a certain way about something, I guarantee there are others out there who feel the same way. If you have certain thoughts, others have those thoughts too. As unique as we are, we still have strong commonalities with lots of people. We laugh at the same things, read the same books and take an interest in the same issues as those people.
The problem is, we just don’t know them. They would become our best friends if we met them. But we don’t know who or where they are and perhaps we never will. However, your continuous writing and the promotion of your content at least makes it possible for them to find you.
And if they do find you and they like and share what you’ve written, it’s a wonderful thing…especially if you’ve stayed true to yourself and written from deep inspirations. You’re just someone on the internet who they will likely never meet. But nonetheless, they’ll follow you on every quirky trail you travel because you’ve become a familiar friend who entertains and inspires them.
If these happy connections can result from writing what truly matters to us, then there is no point in writing anything which doesn’t meet that standard. Therefore, write whatever you want. Just make sure to do it well. Make sure you’re proud of it and make sure your future readers can find it.