When I finally decided to self-publish my first book September 11, 2015, I regretted something crucially important. I looked at one older author’s Twitter following—boy, was it huge—and went, “man, how many years have you wasted online without a following!”
Now I needed a following badly to expose my book to and make easy sales but had fewer than 200! Fewer than 200! “Man, what can you do with that?”
I’d have to start anyways.
I started a blog.
A Blog for a Following
Against a sustained resistance to run a web site in my name, I started Kabolobari.com. I started a blog.
I believe in blogging.
My conclusion, as the well-worn instruction goes, was simple.
Publish regularly and consistently a good amount of authoritative and helpful content to the web and you’ll soon be noticed, have a massive following, and can sell anything easy, even your books.
So, I started the blog. I’ve been positive. I’ll soon rock! But…
Looking back now it feels as if I only started a blog for a following. Not that I had anything substantial to share. Just to be known.
But I write!
At least, I have some poems!
Uh, who’s reading poetry these days?
But, well, I started the blog and must run it. So?
As much as I love writing, I just have never liked what I might term writing for writing’s sake. Talking for the sake of talk. — Moi
Publish. Publish. And Publish
Which really is talk, talk, and talk. And talk.
Never stop talking. Hitting publish. Keep at it. The more you do, the more you’ll be noticed. The more following you’ll build across social media. The better you’ll come up in search.
Your website must be on the first page of Google for your name. Your articles. Your keywords. …
But something kept gnawing at me.
You see, not that I don’t enjoy the process of writing. Not that I don’t love to write. To keep at it. But I just have never liked what I might term writing for writing’s sake. Talking for the sake of talk.
I’m number one guy who’ll stand any day and call obsession on Asimov. And joblessness, as an extreme case! I mean, who writes 300 books! In one lifetime? What for? Who for?
I started worrying that this need to gain recognition and build a following and sell books and earn an income and feel important was making me defy my key personal guiding principle.
I had firmly resolved early on when I noticed I had a flare for writing that I’ll never speak or write (really “record”) a word except I had something really really necessary to say and that there were “people who could respond to it.”
Writing should be borne of a strong "why" without which there’s no point doing it.Tweet this
Minding My Business, Not Writing
Maybe for some, like Asimov, writing is their business. I won’t begrudge them. Ever. But writing is not my business.
When I established my “why” I write, I think I reflected classicist Martha Nussbaum’s sentiments.
She said, “a profound artist, who sees deeply with a complex imagination, often sees things that a surrounding society doesn’t see and puts a record out there for people who could respond to it.”
That is very similar to Stephen Pinker’s view which I cited in that “why-I-write” essay. So, I’ll continue to write but only when I have such record of important stuff that may be going or have gone unnoticed.
This way I could mind my business, which today is mainly web design, branding, and business strategy, without jeopardizing my need to publish thoughts that could help some folks. It may come as essay or poetry or even longer, a novel and…
To Learn to Think Well
It’ll certainly be a more profitable use of my time online if I help my following learn to think well.
Writing does that for me. To learn to think well.
And my writing can do that for you. I believe. So I’m not giving up on my love of blogging. I’m in a similar position of thought as stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus.
Nussbaum tells his story.
Rufus wrote a little treatise in about 60 A.D. called “Should Women, Too, Do Philosophy?” He argues that yes, women were created with exactly the same faculties as men.
And if the purpose of education is to make them capable of using all their faculties, especially their reason, “We ought to teach them philosophy,” he says.
Then he imagines the person who says, “Ah, but if they get educated, they won’t do their housework, and they’ll just sit around and talk philosophy with the men.”
And he says, “Now, wait a minute—you ought to think this as well about yourself. You shouldn’t just sit around talking if there are things to be done. You should be thinking about the society, too.”
The conclusion? Nussbaum doesn’t think anyone “should neglect their duties for the sake of talk.”
“But to do their duties well, everyone has to learn to think well.”
With or Without a Following
Therefore, I’ll be minding my business more than concern for writing/publishing and building a following. And I’ll only publish when I must. Then my following will enjoy.
Yes, I’ll keep my blog which I’m loving it. But publishing schedule may not be as consistent and as regular as the practice of blogging may evangelize.
I love how my following has improved. But mind you, I’m living beyond that love. And even if not, I won’t do it just for the sake of talk.
Ask me about this on Twitter #Talk