It felt like a real milestone! When I reached my first 100 followers I was excited! I’ve never been followed before. How reaffirming, flattering even! Now, these people are going to read my stories and articles — they’re following me!
I started following too. I tried to be genuine and authentic. I read writers’ work, and I was choosy. I especially tried to read some of my followers’ work. (And, repay the favor, right?) I followed talent and skill and creative ideas. I followed writers who I wished to emulate. I followed quality writers of ideas with whom I could get on board.
Then, sitting at the airport, talking with an acquaintance (newly met), I mentioned my writing on this platform and she offered to follow me. “What?” I questioned. “Don’t you mean you’d like to read my stories and articles?”
I don’t really want followers to just be a contest of numbers. I, idealistically, want followers to actually admire and enjoy my writing. I want them to actually FOLLOW me.
Am I living in my little world here?
And then, I looked at more numbers. I looked in my stats. If I have 100 followers that actually FOLLOW me and read (and enjoy) my writing, I should have close to 100 responses on individual stories — right off the bat. (But, I don’t.)
So, should I discount this number of followers as meaningless?
Then, I looked at views. There are always more views than reads so I guess my stories were looked at and then were NOT read. (That’s depressing.)
So, should I ignore views to protect my ego?
But then there are reads! Here I can get on board! This is where I want my numbers to be! If I’m going to THINK of a great idea, then dump it on the page, then polish it until it shines and I’m proud of it — I’d like some reader attention. Otherwise, it’s just words floating in cyberspace — sad, discouraging and lost.
If it’s been read and clapped for, that is really NICE. Highlights are even BETTER. But, I have to say; I LIVE for the comments.
I never saw myself as someone who would strive to make people cry — but WOW! When I wrote “Add Insult to Injury” I felt validated by the genuine comments! Somehow, I could place readers in my shoes (with some of them sharing that they shed actual tears!) THAT’S what I want! And, I didn’t realize I could write suspenseful stories but “I Lost my Child at the River” gained comments that revealed just that! One commenter admitted to scrolling to read the end before she finished (to relieve her tension-filled experience) ahead of finishing the story!
I know we live in a world that loves numbers. But honestly, I don’t love them at face-value. I want them to actually MEAN something! Specifically, I want an audience of tuned-in readers appreciating my work — reading it, responding to it and being emotionally connected to it.
Just a following who can’t get enough of me; a following who follows because it’s meaningful. (I can have my dreams, right?)
“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know. Make it part of you to be a part of me. Follow me up and down, all the way and all around, take my hand and say you’ll follow me.” -John Denver
John Denver was way ahead of his time.
Start them writing when they’re little…