Anyone can do what I do.

Everybody knows already knows that.

I don’t want to write about that, everyone’s writing about that.

What am I really contributing?

Is this something that people are even going to read?

These questions occupy my mind when I sit down to write. This is the battle I fight.

It’s time to break free from this mentality. It’s time to steer away from this train of thought.

The thing about most people

You have a message you want to share. It seems obvious to you.

“It’s not like anything I write is actually going to contribute to the world.”

But what if?

What if someone doesn’t read the books that you read?

What if someone doesn’t watch the same videos that you watch?

Most people haven’t experienced the same things as you. Most people haven’t learned the same things as you.

Maybe they didn’t have the time. Maybe they’ve never heard of those books or blogs. Or, maybe they read them, but came away with a completely different perspective.

Writing for one

If you don’t share what you learned, your interpretation of it, and its applicability to the real world, you’re doing the world a disservice.

If you’ve learned something and you understand it, you have an opportunity to teach it to somebody else.

Yesterday I was listening to a  podcast featuring Seth Godin, author, entreprenuer, former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo, and creator of Squidoo. I was reminded that I need to visualize who I’m writing for when I do this blog.

One fun trick I use is creating an avatar of my reader. I ask myself:

  • What does the reader enjoys doing?
  • What kind of person are they?
  • What are they trying to accomplish in life?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What are their dreams?
  • What do they fear?

The goal is to get inside this person’s head. I create an avatar – the person that I am communicating to as I write.

Sometimes I take it a step further. I’ll give that avatar a name and a face. I imagine having a conversation with them. What questions are they asking? What should I tell them?

I used this technique while writing this article. The person I’m imagining is a woman named Lauren. She’s in her mid-to-late twenties. She’s an avid reader and enjoys writing. But, she lacks confidence when it comes to sharing her ideas with the world.

Lauren doesn’t feel her ideas are unique. Lauren feels that everything she says has already been said before. And now she’s coming to me seeking advice.

It’s easier to answer to one than to many

This applies to podcasters. This applies to YouTubers. This applies to business owners.

It’s easier to target one person that you know intimately well then it is to target the masses.

Writing for many is a recipe for disaster. When I attempt to write for too many people, I have a tendency to worry that someone somewhere has already read what I’m about to write. And that makes me not want to write.

What is your smallest possible audience?

Seth Godin talks about this as well. He advocates that you find the smallest possible audience, and then please that audience so that they love you.

Often, we get sidetracked when we forget about “smallest possible.” If you make the audience you’re initially serving too big, you will dilute the very thing you set out to make, avoid critical mass, and compromise the magic of what you’re building. You’ll make average stuff for average people instead of something powerful for the few.

Can’t see the forest for the trees

I become self-conscious at times. I don’t want to be a parrot. I don’t want to write something that people already know. This gets me into a mentality that everything that I write has to be 100% original and unique.

I’m too close to myself. Things that seem common and obvious to me may not be as common or obvious to others.

I need to remind myself: my message is unique to someone somewhere. Most people haven’t read the same books as I. Most people haven’t watched the same videos and documentaries as I. Most people haven’t listened to the same podcasts as I.

Try if for yourself

If you have trouble sharing your ideas because you feel like they are not unique, try out the techniques in this article.

Focus on your audience of one.

Think of a person who could use your unique perspective.  

Think of someone who hasn’t learned the same things you have.

Then create something for them.

Have you ever experienced this feeling when you sit down to write? What do you do to deal with it? What other advice would you give others to overcome this feeling?

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15 thoughts on “Why should anyone care what I think?

  1. This is brilliant advice and just what I needed today! Weekends are for writing since I work full time. My name isn’t Lauren and I’m pushing 40 but still, haha. I was questioning my ‘about’ page which I’ve re-written several times now…anyway. Writing is hard! But that’s probably part of why we love it. Audience of one. Good stuff. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Ruth! I agree about writing being hard. Sometimes sitting down and getting started is the hardest thing.

      Is there any reason in particular why you’ve re-written your about page?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been refining the blogs purpose and trying to best express why it is that I’m sharing my trauma history. I think I’m in unique situation so trying to convey it all in a concise ‘about’ page is tough. I also heard more fear in my writing voice when I began and continue to edit out self-doubt 😉

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      2. That’s good though that you are aware of the doubt in your writing voice and working to refine it.

        I agree with what you say regarding the ‘about’ page. I think that’s why I still haven’t created one yet!

        I hope you had a very Merry Christmas Ruth-Anne!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words!

      What sort of things do you do to help create your own avatar? Like for poetry for example, how do you go about creating an avatar for that? (Just out of my curiosity)

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      1. Of course, no worries! It’s very similar to avatars for story writing, actually. I generally start out with some sort of real-life emotion or experience and apply that to an idea of a person who I think would feel and experience said things. That way, it’s easier to put myself in their shoes and write it genuinely. I hope that makes sense!

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  2. Seems that evil nagging editor is always around, and requires a variety of defensive maneuvers to deal with. Thanks for providing some– and for liking a post on and following The Expositrix!

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  3. Lauren is me! Thank you for positing this informative article 🙂 I just recently learned to stop trying to speak to everyone, because that is when no one hears you. It helps ground me and makes what I have to offer much clearer.

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  4. Thank you for this post Justin. It gave me the courage to leave my blog public and to KEEP writing. My plan was to keep my blogging efforts on my portfolio site hidden and use it only for myself, colleagues or prospective employers, but your post changed my mind! Sometimes we forget how powerful encouragement can be… I just wanted to remind you. Keep encouraging and blogging! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the kind words Melissa. I’m glad my post inspired you to keep your blog public and to keep on writing! As of late, I could use my own advice when it comes to this. 🙂

      Keep up the good work with the blog and keep on writing!

      Like

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