Remember, You’re Just a Small Fish in a Big Pond, But You Can Still Do Your Best
It’s all right if your blog post, article, or poem doesn’t go viral this time
As a writer. You create your work alone. You sit in the spare room at home, plugging away, or have carved out a nook in the living room where you write. When your words are on paper (or online) though, you want recognition it’s there.
I’ve come across writers who say they don’t need feedback or want approval, but find their claims frayed around the edges. After all, if you don’t care whether anyone reads your work, why display it? Write in a journal and tuck your words under your pillow where no one will see them.
The truth be known, no writer hits publish and then forgets about having sent their baby naked into the world. They are eager for feedback. They want to know they’ve written something that makes an impact.
When your writing makes no impact
Sometimes, your articles disappear into the cyber-sphere. You cast your words to the great wide Internet, and nothing happens.
Maybe, you write a personal blog and metrics show no one’s interested. Or, you publish on another site (this one, perhaps), and there’s no standing ovation. Or worse still, you can see people read your article through to the end, but they didn’t clap, highlight, or leave a positive comment.
Even worse than the former scenario, what if a reader just doesn’t get what you write? Rather, they find the wrong end of the stick and leave a negative comment that, had they read your words well, they’d know isn’t relevant.
What’s happening when your writing falls flat?
Those scenarios happen to all writers, not just you. At the time, though, you imagine there’s something wrong with your work. You think it’s inferior, or curators or readers have it in for you.
In reality, nonetheless, the tide of data and articles that whistle through publishers' doors, on and offline, is like a tsunami. They can’t accept them all. And the same is true for readers. With a vast array of choices before them, they will select whatever catches their eye the moment they want to read.
Your articles might not pop up at the right time to coincide with the right readers. Or, maybe plenty of other writers just hit the jackpot today and chose winning topics.
But you can revamp dodgy work
Just because your articles or blog posts are overlooked doesn’t mean to say they aren’t valuable. I’ve sometimes gone back and examined mine, polished them up a little, and published them to “Recycled” — so there’s no attempt to pretend they are new — and they’ve been curated.
I’ve also looked at my older articles and discovered superficial blunders. They are small, but that’s enough to stop them from making the grade. So, I improve them, and they are more successful.
Often, the trouble with my older work is the title, and the same might be true for you. Strong titles grab attention. When you’re a small fish in a great ocean, you must shine, or nobody will hook you out. Your work will sink to the depths until you drag it back out and revamp it.
Another problem might be grammar mistakes. They put readers, curators, and publishers off. Why promote work that isn’t already shiny when there’s plenty of polished work to rummage through?
If I revamp work, I look at the picture I’ve used to accompany it, and although it must have seemed relevant, I can now see it’s not suitable. So, I trawl through a royalty-free photo site like Pixabay or Unsplash to find a better photograph, making all the difference.
Other mistakes that make a decent article unusable include repetition (and I don’t mean skillful placement of the same words to create rhythm or catch attention) and ill-chosen words.
Do you really need to swear, for instance? Now and then swear words may add impact. They could help readers engage in the right place. Most of the time, though, constant swearing’s like verbal diarrhea. It stinks.
There are many reasons your writing doesn’t attract readers. Many of them, however, aren’t within your control. Occasionally you can tweak work, as mentioned, but sometimes it’s just not your day. Maybe the stars are in a twist or your timing’s not divine.
You can’t force a positive response out of readers, or even get them to read when they’d rather not. So, it’s wise to do your best, reevaluate when appropriate, and also accept you can’t win all the time.
Sometimes, people don’t dislike your work: They haven't seen it
“But what happens when you never win?” I hear you. If you have a pint-size following, you probably won’t attract a readership. You need barrels of followers to get your writing seen unless it’s picked up by distributors (curators).
You can gain followers (on a write and read website such as this) if you are a good follower. So, don’t follow mountains of writers with no intention of engaging with their work. Rather, read, clap, and comment when you are moved to, and highlight.
It’s useful to stay faithful to a select group of writers. Pick those whose work you genuinely like and catch up with reading if you miss a few days. Then, you can expand followers a little at a time. If you find you’ve made a mistake and don’t enjoy someone’s work, unfollow. If you love a new writer’s work, include them in your circle and do your best to engage with them. Maybe, they’ll enjoy your work too.
It’s a mistake to follow masses of people every day. I know. I tried it and found I lost track of those writers I really enjoyed and had to find them again. Most of the people you follow won’t read your work, anyway.
The only exception to this suggestion is, if you’re entirely new, you must begin somewhere. So, make sure you follow quite a few writers. Later, you can narrow your follower list if they write nothing you enjoy, or they aren’t active writers.
Whatever you do nonetheless, your good, even exceptional work, won’t always get the response it deserves. But that’s okay. Just keep going and consider every piece of writing a step on the path to improvement. Before you know it, you’ll have followers that enjoy reading and distributors who recognize your skill.
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Copyright © 2019 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved