Your Fans Are Waiting

Stats are less important than making an impact

Hi writing family! Kelly Eden here.

You’ve heard people say, “All you need is 1000 true fans.”

It’s great when an article goes viral and 50,000 people read it, but how many of them are actually impacted by your words?

We need those bigger numbers to make a living from our writing, but I’ve always found the motivation to write comes from the small numbers.

When a few readers truly resonate with your work and let you know, that’s incredibly valuable.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend and she mentioned an article of mine.

“Those suggestions in your article really helped me in lockdown,” she said. “I passed it on to my mum and it helped her too.”

I write a lot so I had no idea which article she was talking about. I couldn’t remember writing anything about how to cope with lockdown.

“I don’t think that was my article,” I said confused.

“You know, the one about the tide? I put those things into practice everyday.”

Early in lockdown here in New Zealand, I’d written about coping with low-tide times in life. It hadn’t done that well compared to other articles. I’d promptly forgotten about it and moved on to the next one, as I do.

Here was my friend adjusting her whole routine because of something I wrote about.

Four other readers commented on the article. One simple said, “Thank you for this. I really needed it.”

There’s the best reason to write summarized in one sentence!

Someone needs what YOU have to say.

Your stats are great for keeping track of your progress and finances, but the bigger picture is what matters most—why are you writing?

I write for people.

I write to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

What about you?

Writing tip for the week

Last week I judged hundreds of entries for a personal essay contest and I noticed a pattern: Great essays began with great first lines.

K. Nicole Whittaker, examined 50 top New York Times essays and says this about first lines:

“Whether you get there on the first draft or 50th, you need to write and rewrite until you find the crux of your piece. Then, put it in the first line.”

You can start an article or essay with a story, a question, a strong statement or opinion, a quote, or a fact.

Whittaker says most of the essays she examined started with a strong declarative statement.

Here are some examples:

“Happy families are not all alike” Lara Bazelon, From Divorce, a Fractured Beauty.

“Not long after my mother died, my father found what he called ‘a lady friend.’” Bob Morris, My Father’s Last Romance.

“I have a soft spot for economists.” Patricia Park, Whimsy Just Doesn’t Show Up On a Spreadsheet.

The new Creative Nonfiction Writing School

Unlike other courses, you decide how long you want to invest in your writing and what lesson you start at. Sign up for 4 weeks ($20 per month) and get:

  • A lesson sent every Monday and full access to archived lessons.

  • Weekly curated Creative Non-Fiction readings and featured publisher to sell your work.

  • Individual feedback on 250 words of your writing.

If you enjoy it and want to do more, study for as many weeks as you like!