One of my favorite novels of all time is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Did you know that for years Charles Dickens wrote in obscurity? He spent three years writing for the Evening Chronicle for no payment.
Eventually, much to the surprise of Dickens, he was approached by a young publisher who wanted to place his writings into a book. The Pickwick Papers made Charles Dickens the most popular author in the world in 1836.
Creating in Obscurity
Every successful author or blogger you follow once created their art in complete obscurity. Instead of giving up or being distracted by the latest shiny object, they just kept creating their art. If there is one distinguishing factor between the successful and the unsuccessful, it’s that the successful keep creating their art.
When you embrace this truth it will cause you to do several things:
1. Have a long-term perspective with your writing
When you begin to embrace that success will not happen overnight, this helps you to settle in to share your passion long term. I have a pond behind my house that I occasionaly do some fishing. I often think about how much fun it would be to put one hundred hooks in the water instead of just one.
Stop seeing each blog post as either success or failure and instead see it as another hook in the water. Your writing doesn’t go off the scene never to be read again. People will find it in the search engines or on social media. Successful bloggers have the ability to value the long term over the short term.
2. Keep your eyes on the journey and not just the destination
I’ve spoken about this principle before in other blog posts, but it’s an important mindset to understand. When your only joy is in reaching the destination you lose the joy in your journey. There are so many things to celebrate along the way that we often dismiss.
If Charles Dickens had only focused on getting paid to write, the Christmas Carol may have never been written. Can you imagine a world without the story of the Christmas Carol? In fact, around the time when Charles wrote the story, celebrating Christmas in England was at an all-time low. His work literally revived the spirit of Christmas. Find joy in the journey and you’ll reach the destination much faster.
3. See your work as leaving a digital legacy
It’s powerful to think that we are the first generation in human history that will leave a digital legacy. All our tweets, blog posts, videos and podcast episodes, will live beyond us. That means our message will out live us!
A few years ago, I lost one of my heroes – Zig Ziglar. Did you know that the Zig Ziglar podcast averaged 100,000 downloads a month even though a new podcast episode had not been created for 18 months? Zig’s voice still makes an impact in the lives of people today. That’s leaving a digital legacy.
Instead of judging your success on how many blog comments you receive, judge your success on whether you die empty.