No one is going to read everything you write—and that’s okay

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Illustration by Greg Storey

As a writer, validation is a powerful drug. Knowing that someone read what you wrote, liked it and took the time to tell you or share it with others is one of the most satisfying feelings. Whether it’s a blog post, a short story, a stream-of-consciousness Twitter rant, it feels good to know people enjoyed your writing and therefore respected your perspective and thoughts.

It’s also a dangerous feeling.

Unless you have a very specific niche, what you write is going to be competing with tons of articles, blog posts, and thoughts on the same subject. The likelihood of every post you write beating them all out is well, low—meaning you’re not going to get that valuable validation each time. To up your chances, it can be worthwhile to look into what is working and implement that on a regular basis. To not let yourself get discouraged though, it’s good to realize and accept that no one is going to read everything you write.

And that’s okay! If you stick with it, the value lies beyond the views and analytics.

You don’t have to just take my word for it, New York Times Opinion Columnist Nicholas Kristof articulates a similar viewpoint in one of his columns from last year:

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019 quote-left

While I periodically write lousy columns, and I also regularly write columns that no one reads, these aren’t necessarily the same ones. What The Times and I both care about is quality journalism, not page views. 

This is a crucial mindset for success. Your best work might not gain traction, and a post you didn’t expect to do well could be the one that takes off. The important thing is to just keep writing. Write for the relationships and connections, write to build up your expertise and cement your reputation as an authority in your respective area.

I actually love the whole idea behind Kristof’s post, compiling his “most-ignored” pieces from the year:

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019 quote-left

Today I’m sharing with you my clunkers, columns that were read by … well, perhaps by my wife. And my mom. If they weren’t busy. I’d say that they bombed, except that would connote impact. Let’s just call them duds. Flops. Busts. Losers.

The excellence of this article is that it really demonstrates how the most unnoticed posts aren’t necessarily the “worst” ones. His columns on international humanitarian issues fell incredibly short—especially compared to anything he authored on Trump. If every writer wrote solely for the page counts, we’d have a whole lot less important and meaningful stories.

The same mentality should be applied to legal blogs. Write the stories that matter and the ones you care about, disregarding clicks. Approaching it that way is going to up your authenticity alongside your knowledge. Most posts won’t be a home-run, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be building up and contributing to your overall success as a legal blogger. You gotta hit some foul balls and experience some strikeouts before that lap of victory.

Michelle works on LexBlog’s Publishing team as the Editor and assists in managing and creating the company’s editorial and social content, as well as working with clients to ensure the overall success of their blogs. She has experience working in all different realms of publishing—including newspapers, magazines and research journals. 

Photo of Michelle Newblom
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