5.1 - No One Cares - Own Your Distortion

It’s the first thing I throw on people who want a career in writing: no one cares about you. No one cares about the story you want to tell or the work you want to produce for them. It’s not you, and it’s not your fault. The simple truth is most people are wildly invested in themselves and their own interests. 

Writing, telling stories, living a creative life, making art - it’s not worth doing these things for others.

On a bathroom wall, back in the pre-smartphone days when people still wrote on bathroom walls - was a bit of wisdom I’ve never forgotten:

Art is like sex
First, you do it for yourself
Then you do it for close friends
Then you do it for money

Whatever it is you’re setting out to do or create, don’t expect anyone to drop what they are doing and give you even a minute to check it out. Whatever they have going on in their life is more important to them, every time. Even if it is just sitting at home, flipping through Instagram while they have the TV on in the background - that is more important.

First, do it for yourself. Make the story for yourself. The need to find and tell your story should satisfy you and you alone. When your story comes to light, when it starts to take shape and grow and develop a personality, you might find that someone cares.

They don’t know why they care. Don’t ask. Just ride the attention.

Then, you do it for close friends. You do it for the people who do care. For every 10,000 people who don’t’ give a damn, one person will give half a damn. It’s something. Keep Going. 

The job of your story is to get them to care. This is the tricky part. It is very much your story that you are writing for yourself, but it’s really about them: the audience, the people who care and don’t care.

We want to tell our story. Our story is shaped by the stories of others. Our stories shape the stories of others. It’s your job to get them to care.

No one cares about your opinion, but they will care about your story because the telling of your story is about so much more than your story.

I challenge all of my clients to write their memoir because it is the absolute hardest thing to do. Googling “How To Write A Memoir” isn’t as effective as you hope it would be. You learn about memoirs by reading them, and you know if you’re reading a good one if your entire world is rocked.

Not a biography, a memoir.

A biography is usually written by someone else who is interested in chronicling the life of someone else. An autobiography is written by someone who thinks their life story is important (politicians, usually). A memoir is the life experience built around a theme.

It is your experience presented through a theme. Themes are the threads that let your story weave into the fabric of everyone else, and how everyone else can weave themselves into your story.

When you consider memoir as a theme, everything can become a memoir. Even if no one cares about your story, they can usually relate to a theme. We view the entire world through themes, and pairing your story with the right theme is what invites audiences to add your story to their story.

Suddenly, they care. When they can introduce their story to the themes you've established, then maybe you can start doing this for money.

Writers in their 20s make often make their first stories about the process of having a child. I don’t have children I can’t relate. Few people will care about children who aren't theirs. Learning to care for the child is your story, but the themes of parenthood, childcare costs, or sleeplessness invite any parent of any age into the story. Larger themes of life, mortality, population, and so on invite everyone else in.

In the beginning, no one cares what you're doing. Why not act like it? Write and create with abandon while your story still belongs to you. The moment you have even an audience of one, things change.

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🌻🌻When I coach writers, especially ones new to the practice, it helps to annihilate their ego right out of the gate. "No one will care about this," I tell them. The point is to get them out of their own way. Don't try to make something amazing; just write the story you need to tell. Don't spend time worrying about what other people will think, because they sure don't give a shit about you or the thing you have to make. Of course, I'm a cynic. I doubt most people will ever want to actively improve their condition until the condition is supremely bad. It may take a heart attack or a bad day in a dressing room before someone finally decides to do the diet-and-exercise thing. When you set out to make a thing or tell a story or change the world, it helps to start from a position of: no one will give a shit. At the very least, you'll be right. Then, it's the long road of finding ways to tie your story to their story. People don't care until they do, then it's the only thing they care about. But that comes later. Right now, assume no one cares and make the thing you want to make. A lot of the people and companies and brands I work with do what they do because they can't find what they are looking for anywhere else in the world. They are the only ones who care about that thing, how do they craft a way to get other people to care? To get the *right* people to care? So yeah, that's what I do. Most people don't care about what I do. They nod politely when I tell them. They like these stupid little posts I put out there. I know most people don't care, which is fine, because this isn't for them. This is for me. I make this stuff because I care about it, and I don't see anyon else doing it the way it needs to be done. #writingcoach #writinghacks #bloggers #bloggingonIG

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