Maybe No One Will Read This
Updated: Dec 20, 2018
And I have to be okay with that.
When I submit a story to literary journals, maybe no one will publish it. When I query agents, maybe no one will decide to take me on as a client. And I have to be okay with that. Yet I also have to do these things anyway. I have to write the blogs, submit the stories, query the agents. I have to create and put those creations out into the world and let the sheer fact they exist be enough of a motivation to create more.
Social media has made this mentality harder to maintain. Because social media has "likes," and somehow, we've equated likes with worthiness. It's easy to say teenagers are the ones who struggle the most with this, deleting photos if they don't get at least 100 likes, but I think we all struggle with it to a certain degree.
Just the other week, I made my pregnancy public online. And I put some thought into it — what I wanted the picture to look like, what I wanted the caption to say. I didn't want to spend too much time on it, but even with a small creation, I wanted to be intentional. I posted the announcement on Facebook, and I stared at the photo fresh in my newsfeed. I was waiting for that little notification icon to light up. And when it didn't, even after 30 seconds, I got that little flutter in my chest. "Oh my god. Is no one going to like it? What if I make this huge, public life announcement... and no one cares?!"
Quickly, though, I realized people already did care. I cared, for one. My husband cared. Our families cared. The friends we had already told cared. And frankly, we didn't decide to have a baby for the sake of a social post. We decided to have a baby to further enrich our lives.
It's no different with creative endeavors. I can't write something with the goal that it will go viral or win an award or make me some money. Because if that's the goal, I'm going to feel pretty damn discouraged when those things don't happen. No, the only goals I can have when I write something is that the act of writing further enriches my life and that, after some careful editing, I'm able to express an idea clearly and honestly. If I can meet those goals, I release what I've written into the world — via blog post or literary journal submission or agent query — and hope it resonates with someone on the other side. But if it doesn't, I have to be satisfied with the work nonetheless and move on to the next project. I have to keep creating, even when the world may not reward me for doing so.
Maybe no one will read this. And I have to be okay with that. I am okay with that. I'm happy with what I've written here, what I've expressed, and that's motivation enough to write my next blog post, whatever that may be. I wrote this post to remind myself of something important, and if it happens to be a reminder for someone else too, well, that's just gravy.