It’s time to be perfectly candid about your writing, alright?
Cos we both know it’s no mean feat to reach a milestone of writing 500 blogs. And given your current consistency, you’ll no doubt get there sooner than you think!
But may I remind you this was never meant to be a numbers game?! And God forbid it be an algorithm’s game either!! (Looking at you SEO!)
So here are three pieces of advice to throw your way (bookmark them somewhere please lest you forget!). In hopes that along the way, you don’t “lose your way!” (Cheesy I know, but hey it’s part of our charm no?!)
1. Always return to your roots as a writer
Do you still remember when you started this blog? It was back in April 2019.
Feels like a lifetime ago now, doesn’t it?
Then, you wanted to take a leap of faith to publicly chronicle your life as a stay home dad to a son with autism. Also, you wanted to talk openly about your unfinished journey as a parent, writer and observer of life.
Of course you’ve always written, so it wasn’t like this blog was some overnight epiphany, even if plenty who knew you might not have known this side of you.
Recall those personal journals you wrote in ring-bound notebooks? Those ditties about your college years, dating years, mission years and all? I think you still have them hidden somewhere in a drawer in the study, collecting dust!
Of course you were never quite as consistent with your writing then as you have been with this blog now. But without a doubt, they proved early on you had it in you to be an avid writer.
But here’s the thing: If all you’re doing now is write to keep reassuring the world (or more likely yourself!) that you are a writer, then all I can say is…
Stop pandering to those judgmental voices (real or imaginary) in the world! Stop pursuing that seductive but forever elusive limelight of momentary fame! We both know these are slippery slopes that will only end in a crash and burn!
Allow me to remind you: you’re not writing to please others.
You’re writing because that’s who you are; who you’ve always been.
Darn it! Return to your roots man.
2. Resist the desire to chase numbers & algorithms
Yes, I’m still straight-talking to you.
I’ve noticed you’re starting to become very mindful of SEO and Readability analytics that pepper the blogosphere. And quite frankly, I don’t like it one bit!
Yes I get that it’s a thrill to keep editing until the “reds” turn to “greens”; as the built-in blog systems evaluate your writing in real time. As they tell you if you’ve correctly dotted your ‘i’s and crossed your ‘t’s. Or if you need to touch-up your meta description and what not.
And don’t even get me started on how you return to each published post in the first 24 hours or so to see if there are any new “likes”! (Thank you Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for all those years of narcissistic indoctrination!)
This isn’t what you signed up for alright!
Unless of course your real goal is to one day monetize this to the hilt (which for now at least, is sooooo NOT you).
But even if that should come to pass, we both know these numbers and algorithms are at best whimsical, and at worse sadistic. They can move you into that whole listical, click-baity place of “template-tised”, cookie-cutter writing. Or they shift the goal posts for you helter-skelter, depending on the fickle and unpredictable reading trends of impatient netizens everywhere.
3. …stay true to your writing “voice”
Openly defiant and straight-shooting in their delivery, hosts and writers Rea Frey and Joe Tower talked plainly about their frustration with toeing the line as writers, just five minutes into that 32 min podcast episode.
They spoke candidly about having to live up to societal expectations of the “right” way to write and publish in order to be accepted in this madcap world of writing. And they were so fed up and so done with that!
Why, you nearly stopped the car by the road side to rewind that bit and hear it again! Cos it felt like a direct hit to your solar plexus, so real was the instant connection you had with what they were lamenting.
Rather than submit to the script the world dictates, both writers advocated in that episode for more “disruptors” to upset the status quo. All for the sake of pushing boundaries and creating space for more varied voices.
That idea to be a disruptor. Wasn’t that what convinced you to start your blog?
Cos you have a voice, and you have a mind of your own. So use them well, and don’t let the dictates of this conformist world lull you into an amnesia-like state. A state that causes you to forget your unique voice.
Write from there.
In closing, let me leave you with these words of pure wisdom and gold from the incomparable Anne Lamott:
“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Now go, K.
And rock the world!
Your forever muse