Friend, I have something to say.
I’m a writer, if you’ve noticed. A dang good one, if you ask me. Once a week, give or take, I pour my heart and soul into roughly 1,000 words and I send it out to the masses. Sometimes you read them and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you are so generous as to voluntarily share my work. And your words, your kind words of support, build me up and keep me going.
I need that, all of that, and more if I’m ever going to make anything of this. In a sea of more than a billion websites, I’m Sick and So Are You is but just one, a microscopic speck in a vast ocean. I need as many eyes on my work as humanly possible just to have a shot in hell. I need shares and retweets. I need positive feedback. I need follows and likes and page views galore. That’s the only way I will ever make something of this.
And guess what? Exactly none of that is your responsibility or your problem. That is not your job. It is mine.
When I say “shot in hell” I’m not being pessimistic. I’m not fishing for reassurance. I’ve really only got a shot in hell. There are 400 million blogs on Tumblr alone. That is just one platform on the tip of the blogging iceberg. Then there’s the memes, the podcasts, YouTube channels, SoundCloud accounts, Facebook pages, tweets, and Instagram posts. I’m trying to get people to drink my glass of water right as they’re drowning in the content of millions of other blogs. “Shot in hell” might actually be a little generous.
And still, that’s not your problem. It’s mine.
If I want to make anything of this, it’s my job as a writer to create something you want to read. It’s my responsibility as creator of a blog to market my work, to cast my net far and wide, to seek out publication on other sites. To make myself more than just a speck in an ocean, to make myself be seen. And if I’m not enough on my own, it’s my job to get better, not your job to tell me I’m the best. My job. Not yours. Mine.
You have kids and a job and a spouse. You have hobbies and goals you’d like to achieve. You have the same hours in a day that I do, but they’re your hours and you get to do with them what you want. Hell, you may just not want to read what I have to write and that’s okay. Really, it’s alright.
The same goes for me. My time is my own. Sometimes I spend it writing or hiking or doing other worthwhile things. And other times I’m watching mindless television trying to scrub the residue of a hard day from the insides of my skull. Or maybe, just maybe, just like you, I don’t want or need yet another obligation piled on my shoulders. I love you, but I’ve only got so much to give.
And you love me, I know. How could you not? Well, at least I hope you do. And you see what I’m doing and you’re proud. I hope. And you want to do what you can when you can. So you do and I thank you. And I love you, even if I can’t say it with my time or my money or my likes and my shares. I adore you. I do.
I also see you. I see your hustle, your drive. I see the fire in your eyes. Whether you’re writing words too or telling a story one photo at a time. If you’re selling houses or the items that go inside, I see you. I respect it. I do. But I’m only one person and this time, it is mine.
And I want you to succeed, me to succeed, every damn last one of us to make something of our things, whatever that may be. Sometimes I feel like my thing will not. And the work feels like drudgery, futility at its finest. I’ll never be seen. I’ll never be heard. I’ll never make anything of this something that means so much. And none of that, not a single bit of it, not even one speck is your burden to carry.
If you’re my friend and you support me through shares and loves and like, I’m so grateful that you’re kind. But there will never be a moment where I want you to feel obliged. I dread the idea of being that thing, that nuisance, an interaction you avoid. You’re my friend and these are my dreams. You don’t have to share them or love them or buy them for me to know you support them. It helps, but it is never required.
I write. I will write. I have written. It goes and goes, as it has for almost the entirety of my life. It’s what I do. My shot in hell will depend upon a groundswell of support. It will require me to not only have basic fundamental skills. I have to want it. I have to work toward it. I have to not lose faith in myself and my ability. It may take luck and a bit of happenstance. And even with all that, my little speck of a blog on this vast ocean may never amount to much. That’s just how it goes.
And that’s not your problem. It’s all mine.