5 Times I Thought I’d Quit Writing Online

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Photo by Andrew Valdivia on Unsplash

Writing for internet strangers is hard work.

It’s a mental game: you know if they’ll like your work until you press the shiny green submit button.

Fear of judgment is enough to stop a would-be writer in their tracks. Oftentimes, other things get in the way.

Here are five times I thought I’d stop (but I haven’t yet).

I hurt a friend

I was a cheeky piece of garbage.

I wrote an article that got too personal. I referenced a friend and basically threw mud pies all over him.

The worst part was how excited I was to show him the article.

I learned an extra sizeable-sized lesson that day — and that’s to never take a metaphoric dump on your friends for any reason, especially if you think it’ll help you get more “followers.”

Followers are a vanity metric. Friends are real people you should look after because they’d do the same for you.

Words are powerful and powerful things hurt like a wooden plank to your behind. Even if it’s the best story, even if it’ll be your most viewed one, it’s not worth ruining a friendship.

I wasn’t making any money.

The more you stress over money, the less you have.

When I started, I saw dozens of “I Made X Dollars” articles and thought I’d afford to move out of my parent’s place on a blog salary.

As it turned out, I could barely cover lunch with the money I was making. It made me upset, and my attitude made working even more challenging. I started writing more, and I tried taking shortcuts.

The harder you work, the worse your work is.

I burned out like a forgotten candle. I stopped writing for a short time because I needed to make money elsewhere. But, when I found money relief, aka focusing on a full-time career, I picked up writing again, and it flourished.

I finally enjoy writing for what it is rather than doing it just for the money. Money followed when I put passion first.

I moved out

Adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

After moving states, starting a new full-time gig, and meeting new people, I stopped writing. I mean, I hardly had time for a 30-minute writing session over the past couple of months.

I wasn’t making money from it anyway, so why bother? Better to enjoy my life and go out on the weekends. But the urge to write tickled my brain.

In the end, if you like something, you’re not going to let a change of scenery let the dream die.

My views stagnated

Just like the money, all I cared about were the metrics.

The metrics, likes, followers, view time, etc., are all the devil at work. They want to trick you into thinking your work doesn’t matter. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Growing on social platforms isn’t a linear process. You can’t forecast how many people you expect to subscribe. Every viewer that crosses paths with you has a unique journey.

Everybody’s needs and wants are different, and you can’t calculate what they’ll do if they see your headline. Instead, it’s better to focus on non-linear goals. If 99 of your ideas fail, but one succeeds, you’ve won.

The 1 in 100 is the beacon. It’s the North Star you should follow because it gives you the data that tells you what YOUR people WANT from you.

I thought I ran out of good ideas.

The thing with ideas is they’re meaningless until acted on.

Even the ideas you think are bad aren’t bad ones until iterated. Seemingly good ones aren’t good either until they’re built up.

There was a time I thought my tank was empty, that I’d never write a semi-viral article again. It’s a fallacy that most creators run into.

When you create that 1 in 100 idea, what else is there?

You’re going to fail 100 more times, but every failure teaches you a lesson. The one winner is the best idea you’ve had, not because of the concept itself, but all the micro ideas that branch from it.

I learned that I don’t need to develop 100 different topics, but if I focus on 2 or 3, I can create ideas and put them into individual buckets.

Remember this: all the good ideas have already been used. Go ahead and recycle them.

This is what keeps me going

I wonder why I almost quit and what else will come up in my life and rock my world. How else will I be tested?

After work, a workout, and cooking dinner, typing words on a screen is the last thing I want to do. I’m exhausted, and my creative energy is depleted from my already creative-forward job.

Yet, I write anyway.

I remember all the lovely comments from lovely people I’ve received. You don’t know how much your words can help people until they’ve told you themselves.

Writing is cathartic. While sometimes I loathe the writing session, I want to stay in it once I’m deep in it. Writing is the best way I know to calm the mind and reflect on a busy day.

Remember the 1 in 100 articles? When I wrote my first one, a fire was born. I realized it’s possible to live the life I’ve always wanted. While there’s still work to do, there’s an end goal.

Keep going. That’s all you can do, and indeed, that’s all you should do.

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