I heard a story on the radio one time about a writer who so desperately wanted his poems to be read that he would print them without his name on them and then walk around town stapling them to telephone poles.
He didn’t write to get rich, he didn’t even write to get known. He just wrote because he needed to express ideas in the medium of words and he needed to know that what he had expressed was making its way into the lives, the minds, the hearts of other human beings.
For me, this blog has been my telephone pole since I started it two and a half years ago. When I started writing here, no one was reading it. I kept writing, kept posting. And then one day someone clicked “Follow” and I had one follower. One person in the world who found something I had written and decided it was entertaining enough that she wanted to keep an eye on what I was doing. As someone who had written for years in anonymity and didn’t even admit to friends or family that I was writing, the power and significance of that moment was immense.
I never properly thanked her. She’s Nichole Eck and she’s a writer too, a novelist-to-be. Go look at her blog. She hasn’t updated it in a while, but you can find her on Twitter too. Nichole, thank you.
In August of 2013 WordPress picked this post (“I Really Don’t Want to Punch You In the Face”) as a Fresh Pressed selection and suddenly I had 10, then 20, then 50, then 100 followers in just a couple of days. I was terrified, as I expressed in this post (“Oh, shit, I Succeeded. Now What?”).
In the year since that breakthrough, you have continued to click that Follow button. A few each day. Slow and steady. The numbers kept rising and for a long time I refused to believe you were real. You had to be robots; spambots. I was sure of it. But, I think some of you really are people. Maybe most of you. And you’re really reading my writing. As of this week, there are 2,318 of you in my followers list.
The most recent are Peanut Butter Jelly Wife (have a look at her blog; I like the story of how she came up with the name for it), and LifeCoachWriter (her most recent post is titled “Accept Your Flaws”; timely and good advice for me). Thank you, PBJwife and LifeCoachWriter.
I don’t know what you all have seen along the way that has led you to click Follow. I don’t know if, after you’ve clicked Follow, you ever return. I don’t know if, after you’ve clicked Follow, you suffer Follower’s Remorse and only remain in the list because you can’t figure out how to un-follow. All I know is that in that one moment, you read something I had written and thought it was worthwhile in some way, and by clicking Follow, you gave me a pat on the back, encouragement, validation, assurance that what I’ve been writing is making its way into the world, into other minds, into other lives. And that’s all I ever wanted. By clicking Follow, each one of you gave me a gift.
So, really, thank you. All of you.