Most of us write, because we are pressured to.
We write because our parents want us to be literate. We write because it’s required by school. We write because our followers expect us to deliver.
But when did we ever write because we care?
The fear of seeing our stats drop and our existence slip away into the mass shadows is more rewarding to recover than our reputation to be a credible, honest writer.
We used to write from the heart, but instead write on a deadline. I know this, because everyday I see a brand new post from a familiar writer that rambles on and on about his/her life. Or about something so insignificant you’d start to wonder if anything happens to them. There are words but no substance.
Now I admit, I used to be a horrible writer. Not because of my poorly chosen genes, but simply because I didn’t have a passion for it. In fact, I hated writing.
In 99% of my cases, I felt forced to write — about topics that didn’t reflect my real thoughts but something I completely BSed about. That way, I could move on to do the things that actually matter to me (like cooking, working out, spending time with my boyfriend).
But then I started working for Rabbut and realized I needed to write to secure my startup’s existence. SEO. Email. Content Marketing. These were topics I didn’t care too much for, but wrote anyways.
Somewhere down the line though, I got struck by a heart-breaking epiphany and felt extremely lost, confused, and torn. I dropped everything — my work, my daily routine, my texts to my family and friends. Nothing seemed to matter. All I wanted at that point was to open up my heart to someone and release the pain that kept me paralyzed from moving forward. I thought about expressing it in person, but didn’t know if I could tell it all without breaking down into tears. The only way I could would be to write it out.
And so I did.
For the next 21 days, I wrote (on and off) — extracting every memory I had of him onto the screen. To be honest, it was the most excruciating feeling I’ve felt in years, just thinking about how I’d be publicizing what would’ve been just the story between us two. But I tossed that thought aside and continued to write until I had a piece that was ready for the world.
4 hours later, 1.8k people read my life. At this rate, my story quickly climbed onto the top ranks of Medium within half a day. But it wasn’t the numbers or rank that shook me awake. It was the responses.
Honest. Real. Warm. Supportive.
I knew I’d touched thousands of people’s hearts — for those who’ve lived through the same experience and for those who haven’t. And to hear their voice and their support for what I’ve done and what I do is more than enough for me to keep writing.
Writing where I don’t feel pressured. But writing about things I care about.
My word to you, writers
I know you want your voice to be heard. Or maybe be famous and make some good money from your insight or expertise. You might even consider taking the shady route and writing shitty posts every day to gain more exposure. And that’s fine.
But just remember this:
People respect you more when you write about things you care about. Things you deeply believe in that can spark someone’s day and spur them to take action.
Good writing lasts forever. Mediocre and bad ones don’t — they only go around once.
Be authentic. Care about what you write. Because when you do, everything you say matters.
That’s what readers want to read.