Write Like No One Is Reading
“You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ll never get hurt. You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’. It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.” ~ Come from the Heart by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote above or a variation of it. These are words to live by—if we can.
Today I’m adding:
Write like no one is reading, create like no one cares, and do whatever you’d love to do like you’ve never failed before.
I’ll focus on writing, but the idea can apply to anything.
The thought of writing just for oneself is a fine one—if I’m writing in a private diary. But when the writing is published for the whole world to see, can we apply the same principle?
This month marks the fifth anniversary of creating ONE WITH NOW. I’ve been writing and sharing on this platform for five years, and published more than 260 articles so far.
Five years is a big deal that’s worthy of reflection and examination. Was it worth it?
The purposes of this article is to share a few thoughts and impressions about putting yourself out there for the whole world to see (and possibly judge).
Like anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to writing and sharing.
Let’s start with the positives of writing.
The bright side of writing and publishing
We all have the desire to express who we are. Some use words, others use music, painting, work or vocation, family, or community.
Writing as a medium of expression has tremendous benefits.
Writing transforms your life.
This is not the OMG personality makeover that happens overnight. It’s a subtle change that takes place over months and even years. The areas that are most affected are:
Writing on a regular basis improved self-discipline, for me. I’m pretty lax, most of the time, and tend to procrastinate a lot, especially when there is no outside accountability.
But knowing that I’ve committed to writing four articles a month makes me do it—even if no one reads, or no one cares. This commitment has trickled into other areas of my life, and I’m grateful for that.
Awareness and clarity
Writing takes thoughts (random, intentional, cohesive, and ramblings) and puts them in structured physical form.
Writing is like having a conversation that’s recorded and played over and over till it sounds just about right. Every thought is scrutinized and examined before it becomes an idea worth sharing. And when it’s done, there is a bit of clarity about the subject. It may not be enough to change my own behavior, but it is a strong reminder.
More than a few times I’ve dealt with situations that triggered an inner dialogue and questions like: Didn’t you write about this? What would you tell yourself to do? How do you want to deal with it now?
These questions are very helpful in focusing on the situation, stepping out of programmed reactions, and choosing a response—consciously.
When we write and put something out for the whole world to see, we’re putting part of ourselves out there with it. Anyone can contact me and rip me to pieces. It doesn’t happen often (I’m not that famous :) ) but it’s always a possibility.
Being okay with one aspect of criticism thickens the skin. I’m less sensitive to criticism now than I was a few years back.
Being comfortable with possible rejection, judgment, and criticism is a life skill that applies to any situation.
These three benefits alone make writing and sharing worth the effort.
To me, writing is an act of expression, and a great way to learn about ourselves and our world.
When you start writing, you open up to all the ideas out there. You become more curious, you learn more, you share more, you get feedback that expands your understanding. You grow, and maybe you help someone else grow along the way.
Now let’s look at the other side.
The dark side of writing
Like anything we do, there is an unintended downside that comes with the territory.
The biggest obstacle to joy is having expectations.
The expectations are mostly of big success.
What does success mean?
I’ve never tried to define what success means for me when it comes to writing. The main thing (maybe I can call it success) was to write and publish on a regular basis, no matter what.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t feel enough when most experts out there are yelling that writing is not enough. Which brings me to the next point.
The more I decided to take writing seriously the more I started digging into advice about writing, publishing and publicizing.
At one point I was reading about writing more than actually writing. And that added to my overwhelm and confusion.
There is so much information out there about blogging, social media, email marketing, courses, webinars, video channels, and so on.
Information overload and overwhelm can be paralyzing.
The unfortunate side effect of putting things out there for the whole world to see is that it provokes the ego.
There is the anticipation of a post getting traction and being shared a gazillion times on social media.
There is the hope of growing traffic and readership so I can be called an influencer or expert.
Then there is comparison to other sites and fellow bloggers and what they’ve accomplished. And the focus usually is not on what they’ve done, but on what I’ve failed to do. It’s an ego whipping.
I’ve never intentionally sought out any of the above, but every now and then, especially when I’m in the mood to beat myself up, the ego takes over and freaks out for a little while.
This has never been a motivation for me. It’s more like a punishment that cripples and demoralizes.
The dark side can be summed up in ego and confused expectations. And if we’re not aware of what’s going on, we can give up on things that we love doing because of outside appearances that don’t matter that much.
Looking at both sides, the bright side means way more to me than the few momentary lapses into ego darkness.
So I’m going to write like no one’s reading. Okay maybe just you. And welcome anything that comes after.
You are more than enough for me. I love and respect each one of you. If you’ve read anything on this site, you connected with something I shared, and that’s something I’m always grateful for.
If you’re here reading this, you’re on a path that’s not that different from mine. And I’d love for us to continue on this path together, and help each other out. I’ve learned so much from all the messages I received over the years. Keep them coming.
I’m going to close with this. But feel free to replace “write” with any other creative endeavor you’re considering. We’re all expressions of life in varying formats.
Write like no one’s reading, share it, and trust that the ones who are meant to be on the same journey will find you. Most importantly, enjoy the journey for its own sake.
Writing has been (and continues to be) one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. And my intention is to continue.
Will you be here? I hope so.
Thank you for being the one to read, and thank you for being you. I love you. And I mean it with all my heart.