I’ve had this post submission sitting in my Google Drive for far too long. Things have been busy. I’ve been working on creating a course, building assets for the magazine, and focusing on so many other things. Somehow the right time to post this on the blog just never surfaced. So it sat in my Google Drive, untouched. The words this passionate writer carefully crafted were left unshared. And it’s a shame, really. This is a message we all need to hear. What do you do when it feels like your writing is useless? When you feel like you’re standing at the edge of an abyss and just yelling into it? But I’m also thankful. Because today, these words were something I needed to hear.
Inside my writer-heart lies a number of unspoken fears. What will people think of me if I say this? What if I can’t get published? What if my words aren’t received well? Will I be able to measure up to the countless scores of other writers in my arena? Is what I’m saying an honest representation of my true self?
But one fear outshines all the rest. It is a fear that chafes at my heart every time I sit down to write. It is a fear that holds me back from clicking publish. It is the fear that sits beneath every other doubt or hesitation. And I think it might be the fear all artists and writers face whenever they create.
What if no one cares?
Since launching my blog over two years ago it has become my daily habit to check my stats. How many visitors do I have? Where are they coming from? What are they reading? I am elated when the numbers are high, and dejected when they are (more often than not) low. Why do I even bother to write if no one is reading? Why did I take an hour or two out of my day to construct a blog post if no one even cares?
My following has increased, but very slowly and very minimally. It seems that I will be throwing my writing—the carefully compiled output of my very soul—into the wind for the rest of my life.
It might very well be that my worst fear has come true—no one cares.
So I have a choice. I can exit out of Word, slam my computer closed, and get back to the rest of my day. I can give up trying to get others to notice, and let others do the writing. I can call this whole writing dream quits.
Or I can put the numbers of likes, follows, retweets and shares out of my head, pull the computer out again, open another blank document and write. I can let my fingers fly across the keys, clicking and tapping with eloquence as I transfer the stirrings of my heart into words and sentences and blog posts and maybe even one day a real book. I can do what makes my heart come alive—whether or not anyone cares.
This is the choice I keep coming back to, and the choice I want you to make as well. And on the days I want to give up (which are most days) these three reminders keep me writing.
The world isn’t running out of space for words.
Last time I checked the capacity on the internet was virtually infinite. Publishers are still looking for new books. Patrons are still visiting the library—whether it’s the physical library or a digital one—for new books to check out. And though there are thousands of writers, there are also thousands of readers. The world is a huge place. There is space for my words; there is room for your writing.
The size of your following doesn’t define your impact.
Even if it is only your mom, your best friend, and the one friend you met on Instagram, your words have meaning. Never discount your influence, encouragement, or insight that is shared through your words—whether it is read by one or a million.
If one heart is changed by what you say, it is worth writing.
If my writing helps one person it is worth doing, and it has already helped one person because it helps me. When I write, my soul breathes. Through the process of putting my thoughts into words I am able to sort through the jumbled mess of my heart. I am able to understand what I think; I can pin down my reaction to the life happening around me. Without writing my inner world remains boxed up and stuffed down. So I write, not for the numbers, not for the audience, not for the hope of reaching the New York Times Bestseller List. But I have made a choice—a choice that takes tenacity and resilience. I have decided that—whether or not anyone ever cares—I will write.
What do you choose?
Greer Oharah is a lover of authentic words and strong coffee. She is the founder of OrdinaryEpiphanies.com where she writes on encountering God in the sacredness of daily life. She’s also a nanny, choral accompanist, and piano teacher. Her home is nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her gallant, school-teaching husband. Find her online here: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.