I’ve poured my heart into stories I meticulously edited and researched for days on end, just to have them go primarily unnoticed.
Ones I’m certain are going to wow people, will provide them value and therefore perform well — rarely ever do.
Yet, ones I’m reluctant to even post because I feel it’s simply not my best work or enough time and thought was not put into it, do better than stories I slaved over. While this can be incredibly perplexing and frustrating, I’m learning from it. Here are a few things I’ve observed.
As crazy as this may sound, sometimes you have to just not care. Becoming too worried about how a post is going to be received has a way of stealing magic from it. It’s as if the reader can pick up on how hard you were trying, as they read it. Perhaps it reeks of desperation. We like to think the harder we work on a piece or post, the better it will be but it’s just not always the case. The majority of my most popular posts were written on a whim. An idea I came up with as I sat down to write. Some of which, I wasn’t even sure were worth pursuing.
In a way, it makes sense that our organic and free flowing thoughts would be the ones our reader’s relate to the most. They tend to have an energy and vitality to them that our over thought and drawn out researched posts do not.
A prime example would be the 1,000 word post I just finished that I’ve researched for off and on for the last two days. One I kept adding to and taking away from, reframing and reworking until it felt right. As I finished, I took one look and realized it’s probably never going to see the light of day.
Yet one I wrote in a matter of thirty five minutes flat, that then sat in my draft box for a week before I finally decided to post it last night, is off to a great start. I can only conclude it’s because I let the words flow through me and didn’t overthink it. Overthinking is the ugly cousin of stressing and your art shouldn’t be an anxiety inducing activity.
As writers, we have to learn to let go and hit publish. We have to write in a more relaxed fashion and let the words and ideas come to us rather than relentlessly pursue them. As much as we like to pretend we know which posts will perform well and which won’t, it’s simply beyond our control. All we can do is our best work, as well as we know how on a consistent basis and hit publish. The rest is out of our hands.
While I’m not suggesting you half ass your work or not put your best foot forward, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Learn to leave well enough alone, you will never achieve perfection. No amount of over editing or second and third drafts will ever change that. Think less and write more, you’ll thank me for it.