The Write Life

The Wonder and Terror of Writing a Popular Post

"The Scream of Nature" by Edvard Much, 1893.

Something wonderful and terrifying is happening for me right now over at A post I wrote last summer in which I poured my heart out to friends (How I Talk To White People About Racism) has been experiencing a resurgence over the last couple of days and is connecting with readers. A lot of readers. Hundreds of readers. In a crazy way.

Something I wrote is popular!

For the moment.


It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that something I’ve thought about long and hard about (after intentionally avoiding the subject) is resonating with people. I can’t tell you why they’re sharing it with friends, my guess is that it* connects with some part of them. And that’s all I, as a writer, want: to connect with people and affect their lives in a meaningful way.

I’m making it a point to respond to everyone who leaves a comment. Why? (See “it” footnote below.) Well, they’re taking a moment to tell me what’s on their mind and that’s what this writer thrives on, feedback. So why not?

But there’s a potential danger here. The numbers.

Medium is very good about letting writers know how well their stories are performing in terms of readership, views, recommends (the equivalent of Facebook “Likes”). And it can be addictive. Then the goal can become how am I going to “out-do” that last post. It can become a vicious cycle. Write more to get more. Can you say “slippery slope”?

I know this because I’ve succumbed the pressure to crank out “stuff” to match the quantity and popularity of other writers in the past. And that didn’t work out so well for me. I didn’t receive the public ridicule that others have for writing to the masses. The result was that my stuff just wasn’t nearly as popular. Maybe it was the topic. Maybe it was the format. Maybe it was me.

So the deal is this: if you’re one of those people who’ve recently followed me on Medium or if you’re a longtime reader of my stuff, thank you! Again, it’s wonderful knowing that you’ve enjoyed that post (and/or earlier posts); just know that I’ve learned my lesson. I don’t and won’t write posts that often. I’m not nearly as prolific as others. I don’t want to be. I want to and will strive to write quality transparent posts are deeply important to me. Hopefully, they’ll connect with you, as well. And if not, I don’t mind if you don’t mind.

There you have it. You’re more than welcome to snoop around the archives (more fondly known as The Vault) for posts and books I’ve previously written. Or you can just wait it out to see what’s next.

(Oh, yeah. I’m a rotten proofreader of my own work.)

*it = the theme of that particular piece is rooted in one of the oldest universal truths known to Man: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.