Ask this uncomfortable question — and you’ll publish with a calm mind

Do you ever fall into this writing trap?

You’ve had some success with writing on Medium.

You’re getting people to pay attention to your posts.

And you really like what it feels like to have readers find and appreciate your work.

The surge of dopamine from readers’ comments and applause feels great.

But rather than stop to consider why that last post was so successful, you plow forward and rush to get the next one done.

You figure that you know what you’re doing now, so from here on out it’ll be smooth sailing.

Then you hit publish, and you wait.

For a long time.

And nothing happens.

I’ve been there. It can get to be really depressing.

The problem might not be your ability.

In fact, it’s probably not.

It’s likely that you didn’t ask yourself one important question:

Do people even care about what I’m writing?

It’s the simple questions that will get you

If you don’t stop to ask yourself if people even care about this idea or story in the first place, then you are doing yourself — and your writing — a disservice.

Think back on a few of the last pieces that you wrote and published on Medium.

Better yet, think about the ones you wrote that didn’t do particularly well.

What was it about each post that did not capture people’s interest?

Was the topic too esoteric?

Was it written in a style that wasn’t engaging?

If you stepped outside of your body and looked at your posts from someone else’s point of view, would this other person find this topic entertaining or engaging?

Would it be worth five minutes of his or her time to read through it?

This kind of assessment of your work may seem silly, but you can learn a lot by forcing yourself to take an objective vantage point.

And, if in completing this assessment, you discover that you’re not too interested in reading your own work?

Well, then it might be time to reassess your approach.

Don’t worry too much about this. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

This type of assessment is not a one-and-done approach.

As a writer, you need to become comfortable with always learning and growing.

And that requires frequently checking in with how you are doing.

Are you writing the “perching on the edge of your seat with excitement” kind of writing that you know you are capable of?

Or are you quickly getting through one post so you can publish the next — all in the pursuit of getting as many “views” and “reads” as possible?

The creative writing process isn’t just a game of numbers.

Sure, you want to be prolific in what you do so that you give your readers more opportunities to connect with you.

But you don’t want to become so obsessed with pumping out writing that you forget about the reason you started writing in the first place.

You probably started writing because you enjoyed it, because you liked how it felt to express yourself in that way.

Remember what that felt like?

OK, good.

Grab that feeling and carry it into your next piece.

Writing isn’t just about the construction of words. It’s about the crafting of feelings.

It’s about steady reassurance and helping your readers work toward their hopes and dreams.

Make your readers feel what you feel when you get lost in your writing.

Clearly articulate the value that you are providing to your readers.

Write in a way that begs to be read.

Your task is to make your writing so good that your readers can’t ignore you.

And if you ask yourself the uncomfortable question at the start, you get the hard part out of the way.

What’s left is to deliver on what you promise to do for your readers.

And that’s something you’re more than capable of.

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