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You Are Enough

What if the next time we sat down to write, we didn’t worry about being interesting, we didn’t worry about being liked, and we didn’t worry about being reblogged?

I recently told a friend of mine — a single mom who works in the healthcare industry — that she should write a blog about her amazing life. Her response to me was, “It’d be the most boring blog in the world. I’m nothing special.” That’s a direct quote. Nothing special? She’s raising three kids on her own, works in an ER in a massive city hospital, speaks three languages, and she studied opera in college. If she’s not special, I don’t know who is.

Her response really surprised me, and it reminded me of someone from my past who was the flip side of the self-confidence coin.

In my early 20s, I was taking a class with an outrageously flamboyant teacher. She found her life so interesting and loved telling us wild stories of the minutiae of her day. She could probably tell a story about boiling water and make it enjoyable. One day, after making us roar with laughter, she shrugged at us in disbelief and shrieked, “Stories just happen to me!”

My mouth dropped open. She really thought that more stories “happened” to her than to other people.

“Anything that gets your blood pumping is probably worth doing.”
Hunter S. Thompson

I was taken aback by the hubris. It was such an absurd statement because…well…stories happen to everyone. Did my teacher lead a more interesting life than my nurse friend? Nope. What made her a great storyteller is that she saw herself as the fascinating main character in the wild story of her life.

And she was right. But guess what? We all are.

The most frequent question I field from bloggers is, “How do I get more people to read my blog?” I suspect they want the answer to be something SEO-related, and I hate to disappoint, but my answer is almost always, “Pick a topic you want to talk about. Choose subjects that you can’t wait to write about, whether a million people will read your blog, or just your best friend.”

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Albert Schweitzer

What if there were no pressure to be interesting, or wild, or unique, or marketable? What if the main ingredient in the recipe for a great blog post is simply the exuberance to share yourself? I bet we could excite readers just as much by writing about finding a killer sale at Marshalls, as we could about winning the latest season of Project Runway.

There is such a divide between a story that needs to be told, and a story that reads as if it were written out of obligation. The writers that I admire the most are those who can write about any topic, and draw me in with their exuberance. A writer’s moxie makes any story magnetic.

I am drawn in by their passion, not by their perfection.

What if the next time we sat down to write, we didn’t worry about being interesting, we didn’t worry about being liked, and we didn’t worry about being reblogged. What if, when we opened up a new post in our editors, we started by thinking, “I cannot wait to tell you this story…I might explode if I don’t share this with you.”

If we love our stories, our stories will be loved.

When you sit down to write, before you put pen to paper (or cursor to screen), think, “I can’t wait to tell this story!” Inject that feeling into the whole text. Sometimes, I think, “You’re not going to believe this…!” while I write a story.

Come up with your own variation on the theme, and write with energy and excitement.

When you read through your older posts, can you feel the difference between the posts you were enthusiastic about writing, and those you wrote in order to hit a deadline?

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  1. Often, posts I am enthusiastic about flop as the New Coke, and the ones I write to meet a deadline get big audiences ) BUT there are always readers who know the difference and, perhaps, they are the ones who are ultimately important.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I completely agree. After spending way too much time thinking about what people want to read, I’ve decided just to write about what I want to write about. It’s a big world out there and who needs thousands of blog followers. I’m aiming for the select few.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi again – I just realised that your art appreciation blog does indeed have thousands of followers so I feel a bit silly now, and a little envious. Your blog is excellent by the way.

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      1. Hi – followers and readers are two very different things. I am being followed by plastic window makers, Indonesia IT companies and thousands of people who simply do not read the blog. In fact, it is always about a few dedicated readers. Thank you for reading and liking my blog )

        Liked by 2 people

  2. i really feel like i was meant to read your blog today. cause i was gonna stop blogging since no one ever read it, but after reading this there’s no way i’m qittiong blogging. Thank you so much you have stop me from quitting something i really enjoy doing.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. I never write in order to ‘hit a deadline. I always try to be passionate about the topics I tackle. However, the people who read my blog have a tendency to make me think twice about what I write. I try to escape from this pressure. Just like I did in my latest post.

    An interesting post!

    Giulia

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This just shows how many people are secret admirers so to speak. No one is aspiring to drive the flashy cars or the highest, most expensive heels. People want to be great no matter what the cost may be. There is beauty in the struggle. Thank you for this!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I will try to do that next time I blog! You see I’m a new blogger and that’s what I think about every time I blog. Will they like it? Will they make bad comments? I was very excited when I saw my first visitor. The next day I saw another visitor. The next day another. I was so excited. But every time I thought I would get a comment or post I wouldn’t. So from now on I’ll do that.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m new on WordPress and this just became my favourite post ever! This made me sigh in relief and made me realize that making a blog was the right thing to do. Thank you!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. This is perfect! Too often we hear how to format a post to make it more marketable, when really it’s about being authentic and excited. I just started blogging and was in great need of reading this today, after wading through all the “you must do this, that and the other in order to have a great blog”. Peace and love!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As I read this I felt myself saying “yes!”. This is so true. When you write about something with passion I think that it’s apparent to your readers. If more people did this then I don’t think they’d worry so much about sounding boring. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. What a wonderful blog post! When we censor ourselves, we’re censoring our souls and stifling the words begging to be said or written. Thank you for reminding every writer to find our passion and pen it.!

    Liked by 4 people