Reader, I Love You.
A ‘Thank-You’ to Those Readers Who Made The Difference (and Don’t Know It).
There are a whole bunch of bloggers among you; people who decided they would use Medium as a secondary or primary tool to read more, write more, and be more visible.
Remember those articles on blogging you read before you started?
“Use social media — plural!”.
In a word, weave.
The world is a canvas, and it remains true whether you’re talking about the material world or the digital world.
This writing adventure is actually exceeding my expectations — this statement being much less dramatic than it sounds: it of course depends on what I expected in the first place.
I expected flat stats. Zero. I didn’t expect the slow building of an audience that was predicted in all those articles about blogging.
I expected to be waiting (“it may take months!”) but I didn’t expect “The Reader Who Would Make The Difference.” The one that would, some morning, lazily turn on their laptop, yawn, click on the wrong link because their tea was too hot and end up on my latest Medium article, a shameful copy of my still-non-Google-indexed blog post. The one that would click “Recommend” on one of my articles for the very first time.
It’s not only about Medium Recommends. There is also the first Share. The first Tweet. In a nutshell, the first time someone said: “I love you.”
It does feel like a declaration. Every single time, my heart pumped faster. I smiled. I jumped around. I looked pathetic. I felt happy. I wooted (yes, it is a word) in my apartment (luckily it never happened when I was at the café). I started exclaiming repeatedly “it-doesn’t-mean-anything-it-doesn’t-mean-anything-it-doesn’t-mean-anything!”, in a brave attempt to spare myself the inevitable “Recommend-Blues” that would occur two days later, when my article would be buried under tons of fellow bloggers’ articles (fair enough, their turn!) and those (*spinster’s smirk*) Topped-Medium-Staffed-Articles.
Of course, not all my articles get recommended, far from it. And those who do, only get a few Recommends. But that “few” is “a lot” for me (I’m not faking modesty: it does mean a lot to me, a freelance, non-native-English-speaking writer). There is still that hint of a proud smile on my face when I reminisce (yes, I reminisce those things) that article about Jane Austen, the escalation of which I watched for days, in disbelief (32 Recommends! \o/)
There are still articles of mine that nobody recommends on Medium, or worse, reads. When that “0 Reads 0 Recommends” is compensated with an increasing number of views, the whole concept of “Views” seems suddenly very insulting. It’s like sending around a birth-announcement card with a picture of your newly born (and a fluff of ribbon) and nobody cares to give you a call and say “Congratulations!”.
It comes and goes I suppose, but there is definitely that increase, that awareness growing, that professionalization that gives you a gut feeling about when to post and who to tell about it. Very slowly; but there it is.
The most important I guess is not to change what to post. Not to post for the sake of Recommends and therefore pick a topic that “cannot fail” (and yet that may, most pathetically).
However, it did change my way of writing: I came to respect, in a kind of professional way, the people who would maybe care to read me. I continue to post what I want, what I feel I need to write, but it doesn’t mean I would post “anything” anymore. I try my best on every single post. I experience stage fright with every post.
Medium is a huge auditorium and therefore people generally don’t get personal. But right now, I’m going to, through personal messages to Those Readers Who Made The Difference and Don’t Know It (as for all the others, I love you too).
(For those of you who are already fed up with this article, don’t leave just yet, a word or two with you: when you feel like recommending an article from a “small”, “independent”, “freelance” writer, do it. Comment; highlight; share; tweet. Small joys and personalized encouragements to speak up are the reasons that keep each and every one of our small personal worlds spinning.)
You were the first person whom I didn’t know personally who liked and shared a post from my blog, and who also subscribed to my Newsletter. You were the person, in short, that planted the idea in my mind that I was not writing in an empty room, and that there were people listening. Thank you, ReelCarina :)
I wrote a response to one of your articles on San Francisco and you recommended it. Of course you did: it was a response and it had actual content, so why not recommend? (Or maybe you really liked it, I dunno). In any case, you were my very first Recommend. I was honored. Thank you, Sarah Cooper :)
Not only did you recommend my article on being a happy lesbian, but you also wrote: “SO nice”. You put 2 simple but invaluable words on your Recommend. Thank you Barbara AG :)
You were the first of my Recommends (on that “happy lesbian” article) who triggered my first cascade of Recommends (7! Yes sir!). Thank you Saul Of Hearts :)
- My first Recommend (triggering a second cascade of 7 Recommends) on my response-article about travel notebooks and photography.
- My inspiration for an article I loved writing.
Thank you Dakota O’Neill and The Zen Photographer :)
Nope, I’m not trying to be politically correct in saying “thank you” to a major Medium publication: by recommending my response to your Letter To A Stranger, you inadvertently triggered a whole chain of chaotic events that eventually put me in contact with a homeless artist I have met in Los Angeles 5 years ago. Receiving a comment from Abraham in person on my personal blog several weeks later is to this date the strongest emotion I felt in relation with my writing (and beyond, I think). Thank you Human Parts, and thank you to all those who recommended and shared my Letter :)
You wrote an email to me about my article on Jane Austen. You said: “I like it. A lot.” You invited my article to your publication (The Lighthouse) and you invited me as a writer. I still can’t believe it happened. It means a lot to me. Fun fact: That day, I wrote an email to Medium so that they tell me how to say “Thank you, Hilal” (you have a Twitter account and I do not have one). But there was no way. So I didn’t get a chance to say it. So I say it now: “Thank you, Hilal. I was honored :)”
Last but not least, Todd Brison. You were my one Recommend on my post on List Posts. You were the Recommend that meant someone could like my humor — which isn’t always so obvious in the material world. Thank you Todd Brison :)
To all of you, with love,
aka CARRIE SPEAKING,
Travel Writer, Blogger.
Visit my blog @ http://carriespeaking.com