Wednesday, November 20, 2019

To become a successful writer, a thirst for writing is far more essential than thirst for success

Writing is an art where its easy to define success in terms of what others say about your writing. You write an article and it immediately gets a 100K views within a few minutes? You then start thinking about yourself as a "smart and successful writer", you suddenly get a certain amount of confidence and self-esteem even though the reasons your article got those clicks may have nothing to do with your writing skills!


There is nothing wrong with that though, mind you. Be it any kind of endeavor, nothing speaks as loudly as success. However, success is always subjective and it doesn't always have to do anything with objective merit or excellence. The important thing is that you shouldn't let success determine your motivation to keep writing more. If success comes, its fine, welcome it. But if it doesn't, then don't whine and fret over it, welcome that too!

Again, success is sometimes highly dependent on what the audience wants to read than what you want to write. For example, the /r/worldnews and /r/technology subs on Reddit are quite sensitive and volatile about certain topics. If you submit a nice Trump bashing headline or a headline critical of China, you have a good chance of attracting over a 100K views in a matter of few minutes even though your article content may be extremely crappy! These guys will easily pick such headlines over Wordsworth's poetry or Shakespeare's prose.

But in the long run, talent and genuineness always stand out and win. These articles might stay popular on the blogosphere for a few days or weeks until this anti-Trump frenzy continues. But sooner or later, the world will forget this topic and simply move on. What stands the empirical test of time is high quality content. People are going to remember and read Wordsworth and Shakespeare long after these little turf wars are over.

Hence, never judge an article's success based on how many views it gets or how popular it is on Google. Rather, use your own judgment and intellect to decide on how good it is, your heart seldom lies! The sun rises every morning and starts nourishing all life on the planet even if most humans are asleep, remember that.

Did you know that Emily Dickinson wrote over 1800 poems in her entire lifetime out of which only 10 were ever published? Do you think it was success metrics like page views or Google page ranking that motivated Emily to write poetry? Think about it.

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