A few years ago, I started a Facebook page and shared a fantasy story draft in separate "note" posts.
That story was the first time I put myself out there and wrote something that I shared with the public. I was, understandably, terrified.
Yet, there was one thing that kept me going. It was a reader from Thailand that read and commented on those posts.
She was so excited by the story and even though I didn't have anyone else commenting or reading (as far as I knew), I kept going because I knew she would see that story continue, and that was enough.
Writing is Solitary
By building a relationship with your readers, you create the sense that you're not writing in a void. For example, I know that this very post will be sent to around 900 people in my email list who are interested in writing, content creation, and creativity. I'm writing this for you, not just for the "Internet."
If you never had an audience before, it can be tough to get started creating when no one is there to react to what you do. But at least you have your family and friends with whom you can share your work and fulfill the void created by the absence of an audience.
My family and friends are all Hebrew speakers. That one reader from Thailand who stumbled upon my page provided the audience connection that kept me going for a while.
More Access Means More Cheering Up
When I started writing in English in 2019, I had to put writing in Hebrew aside because I was working a full-time job and couldn't maintain two creative presences in different languages. There's only so many hours of the day.
Fast forward to 2020 and I get an email from one of my Hebrew readers telling me: "We haven't received a story in a long time!"
I should mention that I do not know this person in real life. They signed up to my email list from my Hebrew content.
They went the extra mile to search for my last email from 2019, reply to that, and ask me where are the stories.
If there was ever something that made me believe in my content creation journey - it was this simple interaction.
A Community Gives Space to Your Mistakes
About six or seven chapters into the story I wrote on Facebook, I realized I had a continuation error. It could have been seen as either a logic gap, or simply an error. And because I didn't have a lot of people engaged aside from that one reader, I figured I needed to re-write the whole story and I gave up on continuing it.
Writing with perfection in mind never works.
I could have edited the mistake or simply mention in the beginning of the story that it's a draft and may contain errors. If I had done that, I might have been a published author today.
When you have a community of people, it's easier to share work in progress. You could even "build in public" like many people decide to do and build a community around the thing you do.
You don't have to be perfect for your thing to work - you just need to be human.
Today we talked about why it's important to build relationships around your content. We talked about how it alleviates the feeling of loneliness we feel or the sense that we're creating in a void and no one is waiting on the other end.
We also talked about the way people decide to contact you if you offer them more access, like a direct email channel.
And lastly, we talked about how a community gives you space to build and make mistakes. Share the journey and the human struggle associated with it and you'll turn your audience from observers to friends.
I hope that was helpful, and thank you for reading!
If you liked this story, please consider buying my next notebook.