day four: clicking 'publish'

Hitting publish can be one of the most terrifying things for a writer to do.

As our mouse pointer hovers over that single word, the thoughts begin racing:
- Will anyone read it? - Will anyone like it? - Will anyone comment? - Will it go viral?

We are tempted (or should I say, trained) to perform a self-evaluation of our writing based on hits, likes, comments, +1s, re-tweets, etc. As a result, it can be especially devastating to pour out your soul into a piece only to watch the stats fail to follow. Social media is a wonderful way to share, but it can be a terrible thing when we base the value of our writing--or worse yet, our self-worth--solely on the responses of others.

Some days it seems like half the material I come across online is focused only on driving traffic, SEO, getting views, and other mechanics of writing for the web instead of containing actual content that I actually want to read. Meh. I'm sure there are plenty of folks who make tons of money writing about these ideas. Here's the thing, at least as I see it: none of these concepts is life- or world-changing. Very few writers are ever going to publish that viral post that the whole online world reads and adores...and I will venture to say that the ones who do aren't spending nearly as much time worrying about SEO as they are about creating.

And yet, we are bombarded with the notions that writing is about getting views and that successful writing is measured by its zillions of views.

Don't fall into the trap of writing only for hits.

Writing isn't about fame. Poetry isn't about success. Art isn't about stats.

Write for writing's-sake. Create for passion's-sake. Publish because you have to to, not because you're chasing the affirmation of others.

Stop checking your stats page. Seriously.

All of this advice is primarily an admonishment to the 'success'-oriented side of me from the creative side of me. If it's an encouragement for you, that's just a bonus.