Writing Life: Success for me seems to be in reach, now that I’ve stopped listening to the ‘experts’

image: Canva

One of my recent articles received my first comment written in another language. It was written in German and I had to use Google translate to ensure my complete guess as to what it said was correct. (Basically, “I enjoyed reading your article, thanks. Lesly”) It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. True, my stats show that I’ve always had international viewers, but there’s never been any real proof anything I wrote was actually being read. So this little comment was an exciting affirmation that my writing is being seen, read and most importantly, resonating with people.

When I started this little corner of the internet I wanted to showcase the best Baltimore had to offer. Being one of the Marylanders not only born and raised here, but also having never lived anywhere else, I knew I was uniquely positioned to share the popular and the hidden. My goal was to highlight places, artists and events people should know. When I first started it was going to be a hobby, just something fun since I enjoyed writing. I would post when I wanted – which meant when I thought there was something worthwhile for others to read. This became a problem though: I kept stopping myself because I thought nothing I did was “worthwhile enough.” This morphed into, I’m not doing anything “the right way.”

Open book with pencil in the middle on wooden table
image: Canva

I started to compare my site to others and became discouraged when I didn’t have the interaction or following of other high profile blogs. Article upon article of advice on how to blog correctly or take the perfect picture were read and analyzed. In fact I read about writing more than I wrote at the time. Everything I thought about writing was seen through a lens of Is it exciting enough for people to read? Or I can’t write about this, I don’t have the correct images. 

I started to pick things apart: I didn’t have a “brand.” I didn’t have as slick a website. I didn’t have a huge Instagram following. I didn’t write about the correct things. Or I did, but someone else’s was picked up to be shared and not mine. Even worse, there were topics I wanted to write about, but they weren’t solely a Baltimore thing, so I thought, ‘I can’t write about that, it’s not on brand. I’ll never get more readers.’

photo of back of woman with long hair looking out at water. teal and orange ombre water, land masses to right and left. Yellow dots around woman.
image: Canva (I wish that was me!)

Then I finally made the decision to just say, fuck it. 

Write what you want to write Beth, whether it’s about Baltimore or not. Start writing about all the things you always wanted to write about: your thoughts on life, the causes you believe in, places near and far you can’t wait to revisit or discover next. Just write what you feel most like writing about and fuck what the experts say about timing, branding, images and perfection. Do whatever the fuck you want. (Even if it’s using the word ‘fuck’ a few times, since it is your favorite.)

In the short amount of time I’ve stopped paying attention to all of the expert advice my articles are receiving more notice and comments. Readers are engaging in ways they previously didn’t. While I’m not an overnight success in the expert terminology, I am more successful. 

Success for me is not about the number of readers and the buzzworthyness of my website. For me, the goal is connecting readers with the causes, people, events and places I believe to be important. Success is readers agreeing it’s worthwhile enough to spend some of their screen time with me to learn about it all. It’s finally starting to happen, so to Lesly and all my other readers I offer a huge and heartfelt,

Danke.

Author, Image: Christina Romano

The article, Writing Life: Success for me seems to be in reach, now that I’ve stopped listening to the ‘experts’ was written by Elizabeth Schap and first appeared on just B more.

Want to help me with my writing career? Like, comment or share this post! I will be forever grateful and owe you a beverage of your choice should we ever hang.

11 comments

  1. I’m so proud of you! You have done so much in the past five years, with your blog and life in general. We will definitely be taking more pictures like the beautiful one I’m credited for (once we can go back into the real world) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow now I really don’t want to give a fuck about what I’m ‘supposed told to do and just do what is currently making me happy.
    Also, your a boss bish and I’m glad we’re going to do this friendship thing
    Keep shining bright you beautiful diamond ✨

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks so much! And yes, just do what’s making you happy because trying to do it “right” is just a waste. Should have known to follow my ♈ gut! Keep following yours, you’re already doing wonderful!

      Like

  3. I’m still learning this lesson. It’s a skill to filter out “advice” and focus on what you need as a writer. I think all the social media demands get conflated with actually just writing. I see skilled, published writers who are able to juggle it all (or have great assistants who are mimics), but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not one of them. All writing, all engagement takes energy and creativity, and it is a finite resource. You’re on the right track!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh. My. Gosh. The fact that you commented means I have arrived in full! I have loved your writing and followed your wonderful blog for years. So thank you so much for taking the time to read mine and comment!

      There is another big reason that I stubbornly tried to listen to the experts, and that is an article in currently working on because it’s a little deeper and heavier.

      Better late than never. (Then? Than? I always mix them up.)

      Liked by 1 person

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