Imitation / Flattery

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

This is part of my experiment to write regularly and publish every day with the help of 365 Days of Writing Prompts. Today’s prompt: “Write a post in the style of (or simply inspired by) a favorite author.”

Sometimes, even I wonder why I write and publish my writing at all.
There are many people whose writing have been read by a whole lot of people. Some of those writers have made some decent amount of money. I am not one of them. I doubt I ever will be.

While I was a student, even though I did pretty well in both English and Chinese composition classes, I never had the thought of writing to the school newspaper or beyond. Part of it might be that I did not consider my writing good. Part of it might be that I did not consider myself like those other people, who good writers, who wrote to newspapers or beyond. In hindsight, I should have at least tried. It was the only way to see what would happen.

I first wrote stuff on the Internet on blogs. Yes, there was traffic. However, nearly nobody read what I wrote. Years later, amid the age of social media, I opened an account on Medium and started writing. About the same thing happened. Nearly two years and over a hundred stories later, my readership hardly exists at all. I have way less than a hundred followers. Contrast that with many other writers with thousands or followers.

I am not complaining. I am sure that my writing is not as good compared to many of them. If my writing is not as good, then I cannot complain when it is not as well-received. Plus, I am not writing about my expertise such as programming, at least not publicly. I do that at work, but what I still need to work on is to write some programming-related articles that can be useful to the public.

It is interesting that the first year and a half of me using Medium, I had not followed anyone. Then, some writers were so good that I started following them. One of them has particularly inspired me. She has close to twenty thousand followers. Each new story has at least a couple thousand “claps”, sometimes more. But one interesting thing about Medium is that an author’s profile page shows all of their public stories and the amount of “claps” each one gets. For this author, she has not been always this popular. Some of her earlier articles have only several dozens of “claps” from as few as four people each. Of course, that is still more than most of my stories get. What inspires me, though, is that she has obviously improved by keeping writing and writing better. Maybe if another person can do it, I can too. Of course, I do not write as well, and I might not be as popular, but I can try to improve.

Truth to be told, although they say the Internet (especially the “social media”) is a place for cut-throat competition for attention and popularity, I am pretty okay with not getting a lot of them. They are not my driving force for writing. I am just glad to be doing what I love, both on and off work, and I am glad to have a venue for sharing my thoughts.