Hello friends, bloggers and nosey people who pop by to spy on how my life is going. You know you’re out there…
Okay, I’ll get right to the crux here. A while back (November 2nd 2016 to be precise), I typed up a post named A Little Help from Your Friends… where I called out those people who call themselves friends, but can’t seem to find the time to do the slightest thing to support my writing endeavours. It made sense to a lot of people and they agreed that doing the minimum to support a person who’s supposed to mean something to them shouldn’t be a chore in the slightest.
I recently had an epiphany when I realised that I was wrong. I was so, so wrong! Here is why.
My friends do not have an obligation to support me. They do not have an obligation to read through my stuff, pretend that they have read it or even click on the link just to add a cursory view to my stats. They aren’t obligated to me in any way.
I love writing and I love reading the posts of other people. I’ve been into this whole literature malarkey for nigh on twenty years. It’s my thing. It’s my niche. It’s my dream. It is not theirs! They don’t care about this in the same way I do. To me, it’s everything while it probably means nothing at all to them. There’s no reason it should mean anything to them. They have their own dreams to pursue.
That doesn’t mean they don’t want to see me succeed though. I’m quite sure they’ll be delighted for me if…when I realise my dream of getting published. Their inability to click on my posts is not a desire for them to see me fail. It’s just a case of them getting on with their own lives. The world doesn’t revolve around me. There are probably ways I could support some of them that I don’t even know about.
There’s the fact that Facebook doesn’t actually show every post from every person you’re friends with. There are probably people on my Facebook that would really like to read what I post, but because we haven’t interacted much on there, they won’t actually see my posts on their feed. That’s hardly their fault. There’s an awful lot of stuff I won’t see for that same reason. I invited everybody to like my page and very few did, but some people told me they never saw the invite in their notifications. That’s more than likely true because Facebook really isn’t the most reliable tool. So there’s probably many who didn’t get/see the notification. Then there’ll be those who simply don’t want the added clutter in their feed, which is fair enough. My feed is littered with nonsense because of groups and pages so I’m very selective about the ones I join or like.
It’s no big deal some friends aren’t reading what I post at all because something else has happened that is miles better than people clicking on my links for the sake of doing so.
I’m getting actual fans of my work who like it because they think it’s good! Nobody has strong-armed these people into clicking on my blog or posts just to give me a boost. They’ve done it because something about my blog has intrigued them and they’ve come along to check it out of their own accord. That is a tonne more flattering than a friend blowing smoke up my arse! Yes, some friends really like what I post and enjoy reading, but they no longer need to feel obligated (if indeed they do) to support me because I’m meeting like-minded people on WordPress all the time. People who genuinely love the world of literature like me. Their critique is that much more invaluable because they’re in the same zone as I am. If a good writer likes my stuff then it’s got to be good!
I think this revelation has partly triggered my latest deepening of affection towards writing. Because I’ve shed myself of that irrational bitterness towards friends unprepared to do my bidding, I’m no longer in a place where I’m thinking “what’s the point”. I’m now just thinking “I can’t wait to see this idea become something physical”. I’m having so many ideas that I struggle to keep up with them a lot of the time. I’m finding myself wanting to create things rather than write non-fiction, which of course won’t come as a surprise to most of you.
I think it would be the right thing at this juncture to thank all of those who are supporting me; people who discovered my blog, liked what they saw and became friends along the way. You’re the ones who have made this journey what it is. I was unwise to post about how poor my friends are for not doing what I vainly believed they should be. I had no right to feel so entitled. I should have been concentrating on further endearing those who really want to read my work.
Consider this my promise to appreciate you; my followers, supporters and blog friends; so much more than I have because I now realise this was all about you all along and not those people who don’t give a damn about writing. They aren’t in the wrong for that. I was in the wrong for trying to make them feel bad for it. To those friends who have been supporting me by clicking on the odd post, I thank you profusely, but you no longer need to feel obligated to do so. You don’t need to prove your friendship to me. I know it’s there regardless of whether you visit my blog or not.
There’s something liberating about having an epiphany like this. I’m currently writing this on January 24th 2017 (WHAT?! YOU PREWRITE THESE THINGS?!), exactly five months after my first blog post and it almost feels like I’ve grown up again. Like I started this journey as an inexperienced child and I’m growing, learning and maturing with each post. I’m getting braver. I’m posting less of what I think people might like and more of what I feel like writing. It’s obviously working in my favour. Let’s face it; nobody likes a person who panders to the crowd! We all want to see writers being themselves and not just doing a quick and easy to amass cheap hits and likes. Of course, we do get those kinds of people, but in the main I’d say we’re a bunch of folk who are pretty damned true to ourselves.
It turns out that help from my friends wasn’t what I needed at all. It was help from myself. It was for me to stop thinking so unilaterally and see the bigger picture. It was for me to realise that this is my journey and that I alone carve out the path. Sure, I’ve had help from new friends along the way, but I’m the one who’s needed to light my own way. Now I’ve cleared the fog I unwittingly created for myself, I can see the destination up ahead. I’m heading there and I hope you’ll all stay on board for the ride.