(Note to self to start ignoring the imaginary audience.)
We have all experienced this while trying to write stories. Thinking of imaginary readers and audiences, and trying to impress them. Let’s face it, we want others to like and appreciate our writing —be it just to experience that surge of dopamine whenever someone claps and compliments your work, or to earn extra few bucks if somehow your article goes viral. So, for every thought and every word, you think of those imaginary others.
“What if people don’t like this particular paragraph? What if they find it too personal? What if they pinpoint the gap in my knowledge and ridicule the article?”
Or, even worse.
“What if they think I am just a poser trying to act smart?”
Suddenly the words stop coming, and even if you have somehow managed to conjure up a few words, you won’t hit the dreaded post button.
But you know what? Screw your imaginary audience!
Aren’t you already tired of masquerading all day and doing what others expect? I know you can’t go ‘my way or the highway’ when you are getting paid to do something for others, so it’s kind of understandable going with the mask. But now also? Like seriously? Now that you are finally free to write whatever you want on a platform that allows anyone to write anything for free, you still want to write for others?
I will tell you the more bitter truth? Most probably, no one will even read your story. Like literally NO ONE! Zero views! Zero reads! And yet, you are still trying to think of all those imaginary Tom and Gracie who could potentially clap, comment, or criticize your article? Give me a break!
So, from now on, just write for yourself.
But I am sure what you are thinking right now!
“Where’s the motivation if no one is to look at your work.” Or even worse, “What’s the whole point of writing at all?”
I will tell you a short story.
There lived an artist who spent his entire life painting with no one seeing his work. But the dude still painted. And painted more before sadly died at the age of 37. Do you know who the guy is? It’s the same guy who painted the image from above. Vincent van Gogh. One of the greatest artists of all time.
If Vincent van Gogh could paint even without anyone appreciating or even noticing his work, don’t tell me your work needs attention and appreciation for you to continue working. You are not going to create Starry Night anyway! So, don’t give me that “motivation from audience” bullshit!
Therefore, once again I reiterate. From now on, just write for yourself.
Chances are, people could actually appreciate you being real you someday. And they could even appreciate your melodramatic personal story about one summer that changed football.