One of the things you have to accept if you decide to put pen to paper is that most of the time you are writing for the void*.
Even in this hyper-connected online environment that surrounds us, audiences are small to non-existent. That is never more true than when you begin to develop your written voice. No one knows you. They don’t know your voice because it’s still developing. Most of what you send into the void will have minimal impact, but that’s okay.
The period where nobody knows who you are can be good. Working in anonymity allows you to toil unfettered as you continue to hammer out things like voice and style. It can be a period of incredible growth without the burden of too much outside criticism.
Writing, much like designing, is an act of passion. Because of that it can feel a little off putting to push content into the void with no noticeable return. We want our passion to be consumed. We want our viewpoints to be acknowledged, and rightly so.
Working in anonymity allows you to toil unfettered as you continue to hammer out things like voice and style. It can be a period of strong growth without too much outside criticism.
Perhaps you’re feeling like you’re giving a lot of effort but with very little return. That’s normal. I still struggle with that from time-to-time myself. It’s important to remember, though, that what we do we do out of a love for creating, not the need for superficial accolades and attention.
Along those lines it shouldn’t matter whether you develop a huge following or if your work is read just by a few close friends and family. The act of writing is a learning process in and of itself. It doesn’t just teach you how to write—putting words to paper codifies the knowledge you already have.
Huge audience or none at all, writing is a solitary act…until it’s not. Use the quiet time to solidify the basics and remember your passion for the written word is enough, even for an audience of one.
* I refer to the void in the context of the internet as the publishing medium in conjunction with the author who is just starting to publish work that is not seen and not interacted with.