Do Blog “Likes” Reflect Writing Quality?

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I write because it’s what I do and have always done. As a child, and without thinking, I used to carry a pen and a note pad everywhere I went. The words always just flowed forth. Even as an adult, for the longest time I had notebooks and notebooks of written material I saved that dated back to elementary school. The notebooks were so old the pages bled and eventually the words were unreadable. At that point I finally had to realize that they were too old and I needed to part ways with literally a large box. When I was in the second grade, I recall my mother’s voice and how she used to insist that all of her children ought to be a doctor or a lawyer. Writing wasn’t the path to success or big money, she reasoned.

I never put too much thought into it, but I always knew I’d be a writer. It never dawned on me that it might not be the best profession to choose to get rich. I didn’t care. Today, I still haven’t gone out of my way to gain blogger likes or approval from other writers. Heck, at one point I even disabled the option. I also don’t spend a terrible amount of time reading tons and tons of other blogs. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that there are simply so many out there. Many writers are motivated to read someone else’s stuff and to receive likes and comments in return. Sometimes the motive is to simply gain more followers or fellow blogger fans. Personally, I enjoy “liking” and commenting on posts that I truly enjoy.

I write because it is what I have been doing since I was 5 years old. It is not something that I decided to just do one day. Not that late inspiration is a bad thing. But for me, it’s something that has been inside of me since birth and that has always flown freely. I recall when I was younger I used to read slowly. I am still a slow reader. My little Korean mother was too stubborn to believe in diagnosis or doctors. I recall hardly ever seeing a doctor because mother said in her broken English, “I know how to do it. I fix.” And it wasn’t until I was well into my adult years that I was actually diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It didn’t come as a surprise to me.

I had to attend a special class with other kids who needed extra time and special attention to comprehend what came much easier to others, the “smart kids.” One of our teachers had a background in English and was a creative person who understood that we were not necessarily slow or stupid. We were just…creative. She would assign stories to us then take us outside, have us feel the back of a leaf, for example, and then tell us to write a poem about the sensation. Every day that’s all I would think about. I concentrated on the process of telling stories based upon the given assignment.

In second grade it was that one teacher who after reading my terrible handwriting looked down at me and said, “You’re going to be a writer some day.” I quickly shook my head and denied it, as if it was some sort of curse, remembering what my mom said. It blows me away today that my teacher was intuitive enough or paid enough attention to see something in me that I couldn’t see at the time. And ever since then, even throughout college when at first I tried to major in a non-creative field, when I tried to stop writing or creating because it was not practical or made money. I always found myself crestfallen, my head between my hands and, with my eyes closed; my teacher’s face would come back to me once again. I would hear her voice remind me, “You’re going to be a writer some day.” No matter how hard I tried to fight or deny it, I could not run away from my destiny. No risk was too great to send me off track towards an MBA, law or doctorate degree.

Each time I found myself running towards my passion and my dream, regardless of what anyone else said to me. It wasn’t like I could make myself stop. I felt compelled and always have been. My boyfriend experienced something similar in college. As he sat in his first Journalism class his sophomore year, his professor said, “If you are in here with the dream of one day making big money in this career, then there is the door. You’d better leave now.”

I recall deciding to go to film school mostly because I felt it could help me become a better writer. Ironically, learning how to tell a story in the visual medium has really helped me with the structure of storytelling. But my interest in film was due to my love for writing, this thing that I’ve always done since I could first hold a pen in my hand. Several undergrad and graduate school professors told me something similar to what my boyfriend heard, that if I held any desire to immediately make a six-figure income, at least without starting at the bottom, then I had better pick a different profession.


The Bottom Line:

I am not the type of writer who needs to compare my work to others for inspiration. I’m rather private when it comes to my long-form writing because I find outside voices and opinions to be distracting. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a value in professional or qualified critique. However, everyone gains motivation and inspiration differently. I personally do not desire to seek outside approval. It’s nice if I do receive a “like”, positive feedback from others and professional input when it’s appropriately needed. But, it’s neither what drives me to write nor do I feel it’s a reflection on the quality of my work. I don’t care who you are or the hundreds of bloggers who “like” whatever it is you have to say; at the end of the day it is all still subjective. After all, art is and always will be subjective. And it doesn’t necessary prove that someone is a better writer than someone else. I don’t write to win popularity contests or to make a million dollars, though I do make my living through my art. I write to provide a voice to my imagination and to fulfill a much greater spiritual and emotional need.



Jonathan Safran Foer



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2 thoughts on “Do Blog “Likes” Reflect Writing Quality?

    EddVer Naseem said:
    December 3, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    I absolutely love this post. You are an excellent writer, and I’m glad you don’t need to get inspiration from other peoples blogs or posts. There is nothing wrong with being private, it actually makes people feel more alive. It’s tough to actually “read” a person through the internet, but when someone writes with their heart, it definitely shows through. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Liked by 1 person

    lilpickmeup responded:
    December 3, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Thanks, everyone is different. Some people are truly motivated by the numbers they receive or by looking at other people’s numbers. I prefer to not compare myself with someone else’s process or progress because we’re all different. For me anyway, I don’t need to compete with others. I am only driven to do my personal best. 🙂

    Like

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