“No story has a divine right to be read.”
I read that statement recently and thought, wow…that’s a little harsh!
On the surface, the statement seems cruel, right? After all, we work hard to write what we write so why shouldn’t we expect for someone to not only read it, but enjoy it, share it, and recognize our brilliance!
This is a natural thought. It’s sort of the equivalent of thinking it’s perfectly normal (and expected) for all of us to receive a gold star and a happy face on our work, whether we deserve it or not. Now, early encouragement is not a bad thing…you just need to put it into perspective when you’re ready to really make an impact on the world.
Think about it this way. When we were young, there was a sort of optimism to life in general, right? A belief that everybody wins, nobody loses, and every single lump of clay formed on your elementary school table must be shilaqued and displayed for the world to see…forever.
Don’t get me wrong…I love optimism! I’m optimistic by nature. However, I’m also realistic. Optimism and encouragement are one thing; self-deception is another thing altogether.
Do you believe something you wrote has a “divine right” to be read simply because you wrote it and you worked really, really, hard. Really.
Or….could something better be waiting for you (and your reader)?
Somewhere between our elementary gold stars and our first disappointment in the real, grown-up world we learn that everything in life is not given…some things are earned.
And, in the end we also appreciate those things we earned much more than what was given to us with no effort.
So why should we expect the art and craft of writing to be any different? Those who rise to the top of their craft have to do more than just write in order to be read.
Attitude and Improvement
One of the things I loved about that statement is it serves as a wake-up call.
It’s a realization of the possibility that “everything that needs to be said has already been said” and chances are pretty good that what you are about to communicate can be found on the internet somewhere.
For content creators like us, this throws down a challenge. That challenge is this:
Say it in a way that matters, is interesting,
delivers value, and resonates with your reader.
In other words…you can’t just type a few words on your keyboard. Anybody can do that. You need to develop an attitude about those words. Take ownership of the story and idea. Test, tweak, and develop your writing style and voice.
You need to Improve…even when you’re already pretty good!
It’s like a coach who sees a players potential. The player may be pretty good (or not), but the coach can see something the player may not recognize yet. Because of that, they’ll take the time to push you, motivate you, and inspire you to reach for the next level of greatness.
Great Writing is a Process
Improve as you go. You will not get it perfect the first time. No great writer does. Don’t sweat it.
Write it, edit it, and publish it anyway.
There are things that I wrote (and published) when I first started that are actually pretty awful based on what I’ve learned since then.
When I wrote those pieces I thought they were brilliant. Other people even read them and took action based on the articles so at least a few other people agreed with me. Yet reading them now I can see exactly where I could have done better.
Still, just like that clay treasure from your elementary days which your mom probably still has tucked away in a box somewhere in the attic, I leave those content pieces “out there” in internet-land.
It’s a reminder to me of where I started so I can see where I’m doing it better today.
It’s also motivation to continue learning about the craft of writing and applying what I learn by actually writing and publishing. I do this consistently so I can get feedback from a real audience and know what’s working and what’s not.
Keep writing! Whatever you’re working on right now; whatever idea you have that you want to write about…just start.
And if the writing is done…publish it. Truth is…we all start with a blank page.
And yes, there is a chance that nobody will ever read what you write. But…what if they do?
What if the very person you hope will get value from your writing actually picks it up and reads it?
That will only happen if you finish it and publish it. And I’m pretty certain when that person finds your work, and you’ve done your best, they will see past any of the flaws that seem so huge to your eyes and simply see what resonates with them.
And they will thank you for that.
Until next time…Dawn
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