An Open Letter To Discouraged Writers

As writers, the heart of our best writing is our passion. We care deeply about the topics we write about, the process of writing itself and the feedback we get from our readers. While this passion frequently provides us with inspiration, it can paradoxically become the root of our downfall.

We crave the interaction from our readers; we want to touch the world with our writing. We want to see the countless hours we pour into each article or blog post translate into more likes, comments and shares. After all, these are usually the only evidence we have that our work was ever read. It’s not an ego problem: as writers, we are nothing without our readers, and if you’re a writer who feels discouraged, it can be difficult to find the motivation to put in the effort week after week.

It can get tiring— and after a particularly dry spell of little inspiration or reader feedback, you may even entertain thoughts of quitting as a writer. One way to get past this discouragement is focusing on the benefits that regular writing has for you outside the usual metrics of reader feedback or article popularity. Often, the most overlooked benefits of consistent writing are the experience and the portfolio of work you’re creating.

If you’re aiming for a career in writing, you’ve got to get your work published early so that eventually, you’ll have a solid online presence. Unless the time you’re dedicating to your current writing is directly preventing you from a major opportunity to advance your future career, you need to keep it up. The true value of your writing (whether it’s for your blog, school paper or Odyssey) is the experience you gain. You’re learning how to effectively market yourself and your writing, handle criticism and accept failure, and writing regularly is one of the best ways to develop these skills.

Finally, you are not your writing: an unpopular post does not mean that you are unpopular as a person or even as an author. While it can initially be disappointing, it’s best not to take your writing popularity personally. Peoples’ interests change daily, and what may be a viral post one week may sink into oblivion the next. Do what you can to improve your craft, but don’t use your performance to gauge your personal self-esteem: you as a person are worth more than any viral article!

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