When you find your online voice, you will find an audience that wants to listen.
There are a great many articles on Medium telling you how to grow your following and to help you get into the partner program. So many, it’s enough to make your head spin. Numbers, strategies, follows, claps, and comments. Follow ten people today. Follow another ten people, and another ten topics tomorrow. It goes on.
Here’s what I say to those who have just come out of a long quiet interlude such as a period of loss and disappointment or any other significant life event, and just want to find your voice again:
Give yourself permission to not care about the number of followers you have. Focus instead on writing things that are important to you. Find what brings you joy or play with what piques your interest. Write to find out how you feel about something. Post things that show the real you. Share your unique awesomeness and ideas. Just write. And read topics that speak to you. Let your followers grow, slowly. Get to know other writers and make connections, one-person-at-a-time.
In the past, when I’ve set up a social media account, I’ve searched for others in the same line of creative work and friended or followed as many as I could find. But what happened was my feed was full of posts from people I didn’t know.
I’d scroll and scroll. After a while I’d stop paying attention to most everything because it was too overwhelming, and I just wasn’t connecting with it. Or worse, I’d see how great someone was doing, feel insecure and then find myself going down another rabbit hole of seeking advice on how to improve.
I’m new to Medium and I am just coming out of an extended period of loss and grief. My old tendency would be to jump in and follow all those tips. But I’ve decided to not even read them. Not to get sucked into the matrix of Do’s and Don't s and tracking numbers. I plan to simply enjoy being here, without expectations.
Getting into the Partner Program is not even a goal of mine because I don’t want money or the pursuit of it to influence my choices of topics I want to write about. I’m working on getting my feet back under me, or more precisely, finding a new rock on which to stand, and I don’t know yet it where it will lead me here on Medium. And I do love you can write about any topic you like without having to define a specific niche.
In fact, I recently authored an article on the therapeutic benefits of baking in an article titled A Recipe for Mental Health. Can Baking Cakes Save Lives? This is something I never would have guessed happening or writing about. But there you go. Sometimes we do have to write to find out how we feel about something.
I’m choosing to listen to the quiet whisper within that says to grow slower, to pay attention to the stirrings of my heart, to things that are meaningful to me, to draw courage and write, and let the path unfold organically.
Maybe you have a voice whispering something similar to you. Maybe you’re needing soul nourishing time too instead of the pressure to perform. I’d love to hear from you if that’s you.