My hands were sweating, my stomach tossing and turning, I was scared. I just couldn’t bring myself to click on “Publish”. It was the “Full-Monty”. I would be fully exposing my thoughts and ideas to the world. I lingered, hand hovering above the mouse for what seemed like hours, finally I clicked. I sat back, waiting for the flood of notifications that my article had been viewed and liked. I was ready to enter into a real dialogue with my throngs of readers. I was met with crickets. I went back every few minutes to see if there were any new readers, nope, nothing. Finally, I saw the number 1 appear next to the eye icon indicating a view. Phew, someone had read my work. Almost simultaneously, the phone rang. “Hi honey, it’s mom. I just read your article, and I am so proud.” So, reader number one was my mom.
I was met with crickets. I went back every few minutes to see if there were any new readers, nope, nothing.
100 articles and more than 70,000 words later, I am still nervous every time I am about to click on “Publish”, and my mom still calls me to tell me how proud she of me. But, I have learned a lot on this journey, about myself, how to write, and what I like to write about. So, I thought I would share some of the lessons I’ve learned.
1. Guess what, I love to write. I awakened an inner passion. I typically reserve Sundays as my writing day and look forward to it each week.
2. I found my voice. When I go back and read some of my earlier works, it’s as if I am reading something written by someone else. Over time, I found “me” in my writing. So much of what I write now is simply a window into the internal dialogue that I have with myself.
3. I found that I can’t figure out for the life of me what is going to resonate with the readers and what is not. The response to articles that I thought would really “pop” would prove underwhelming, while those I felt less confident about, would go viral. I gave up trying to figure it out
4. I learned not to care about views, likes, and comments. Instead, I write what feels honest, valuable and interesting to me. The few article I wrote in hopes of garnering “numbers” felt less genuine and did no better in driving traffic.
5. I realized that although writing is my form of outreach, it should never be a form of promotion or persuasion. If my voice connects with someone, that makes me happy. If that someone turns into a client, great. If not, I am still happy.
6. Using my dad as my copy editor is a cool thing. At almost 50, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about dealing with his “constructive feedback”. But, his hand has made my writing better, and we both look forward to those calls and that connection. Of course, his reading this will go right to his head which will most likely change my perspective.
7. I got comfortable with people walking up to me and telling me they enjoyed my latest article. I shed the embarrassment and now just feel honored, lucky and grateful.
8. Social media, blogs, and online publications give us all a platform to share our “voice”. If you are a reluctant writer, just write. People will be kinder than you expect and, if you have something valuable to share, we will all benefit from you doing so.
Thanks for reading.
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Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His articles appear in publications such as the Huffington Post, SmartBrief, and Linked2Leadership. He serves as a thinking partner, providing clients with the clarity, focus, and tools needed to make good people and product decisions. He helps clients build lasting relationships with their customers, develop leaders who make others feel heard, cared for, valued and respected, and most importantly grow.
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