manuscript Write for those who read it

Don't worry about writing for everyone. Instead, focus on those who want to read what you write.

Why won’t people read what you write? It’s probably not because they hate you. People have many reasons to not read what you write, even if it would help them. Perhaps the most common reason is they don’t know it exists. Are you publishing in a place where people should find topics like yours? (Whether or not they should know to look there is a separate question.)

So why do we keep writing? Here are three reasons I like to write:

Write for those who read it

Just because some people won’t read some of what you wrote doesn’t mean no one will read it. Write for those who will read it, not for those who won’t.

And depending on what you’re writing about, the readership doesn’t need to happen right away. Ten years ago, I wrote a blog post about how I fixed an issue with my inkjet printer. It got very few views at the time. But years later, it’s still getting a few views each month. More importantly, I’ve heard from plenty of strangers who said the post helped them with their printer. The impact has a long tail.

Use it as a reference

I also find it helps to write something down because you know you’re going to use it again later. It’s much easier to share a link to an article you’ve written than to type your thoughts out a second time, especially when the topic comes up months later. On social media or in an email thread, I might reply to a comment with “this reminds me of something I wrote” and share a link to the article.

It's a practice

Writing is also a practice. Even if no one reads it, the act of writing helps you focus your thoughts. The more you do it, the better you get.

This article is adapted from Just because you write it, that doesn’t mean they’ll read it and is republished with permission from Ben Cotton.