Want To Go Viral? Write From The Heart ❤️

And build your authentic voice

Lana Graham
Aug 25 · 4 min read
Photo by xandtor on Unsplash

I’ve made a promise to myself to write from the heart. Truthful, real, authentic content that matters to me.

This whole “be true to yourself,” revelation started after I attended a writer’s festival and was told my manuscript lacked a writing ‘voice.’

After that gut-wrenching moment, I did the only thing I could think of to make me feel better.

I wrote.

I wrote about criticism and what it means to me. The words flowed effortlessly, like I was writing a personal diary. Carefree, without expectations. Easier than anything I’ve written before.

Then I went against my perfectionist instincts and published the article on Medium.

Of course, I wanted people to read it, but I also didn’t because if they said it was crap then what would that mean?

I’d poured my heart and soul into the article and if they didn’t think it was good, did that mean I was a bad writer?

My article got picked up by SmartNews and all of a sudden the stats began to jump higher than I’ve ever had an article go before.

Stats for my criticism article

I know 624 views may not be a lot compared to many established writers on Medium. It’s not viral. But for a new writer like myself it’s HUGE.

What really hit me was that people chose to read my work. Did that mean they liked it? Who knows, but it got me thinking.

How do writers “go viral”?

Do they plan it or is it organic? I did a bit of research and discovered that my favourite Medium writer, Shannon Ashley (who I have a secret writer’s crush on, which isn’t much of a secret anymore) wrote an article in her very early Medium days that went viral.

When you read her article, it’s clear she puts her soul into every word. Her writer’s voice shines through. She’s brutally honest, relatable, vulnerable… you get the idea.

But how does a new writer who’s still finding their own voice manage to do that? And how does an article go viral once it’s got a voice?

Are there tips or tricks a new writer can use to create a heartfelt, authentic writing voice?

Sure! And here’s what you can do:

  • Write about what matters to you
  • Take note of established writers and how they write in their “voice”
  • What makes you uncomfortable? Vulnerable? Write about it. Even if you don’t plan to publish it
  • Write and write and write. And keep writing

How can my article “go viral”?

This is a tricky question. If I knew the answer I’d be Viral Queen.

What I know about going viral is that there’s not one thing that makes an article popular.

There are several points I’ve picked up during my time on Medium that I believe contribute to going viral:

  • Write in an authentic voice that people can relate to or feel some kind of connection with
  • Write about an issue that is shocking, exciting, and popular in the media/current affairs
  • Explore an issue that isn’t popular in the media but give it a new edge, make an interesting point or develop a unique viewpoint

Going viral is something I longed to achieve when I first made money writing on Medium. I was consumed by it. I checked my stats every few minutes even though they never went past 50 or so views.

But then I got a wake up call. If you try to go viral, you probably never will.

I’m not saying don’t try, I’m just suggesting maybe don’t make it your end goal like I did for so long.

It’s not as though I don’t want to go viral, but it’s not my goal in writing.

My goal is to be proud of my writing. If going viral is an effect of that then great.

But if I write something that has dazzling content but no heart, then what’s the point in writing?

While I don’t have a secret formula to going viral, that’s not the point of writing.

It’s just a lucky side effect.

Finding your authentic voice is key and if you’ve found it then you’re already halfway there.

Keep it authentic, keep yourself grounded, and keep having fun doing what you love.

Lana Graham runs her own Medium publication, Mama Write. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and their 3 young sons. You can stalk her on Facebook, or if you’re feeling really daring you can join her email list here.

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Lana Graham

Written by

Editor of Mama Write. Writer and perfectionist from Sydney, Australia sharing parenting tales you can relate to. Visit my website at lanagraham.com.au

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +504K people. Follow to join our community.

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