The paradox of popularity is that it can create a paralysis that inhibits you from creating the work that made you popular in the first place!
The fear of how people will respond to you can start to creep into your work until it becomes so watered down that you become part of the echo chamber. In some ways, isn’t it liberating to be an early stage blogger with few readers? For those of you trying to build an audience I know that might sound ridiculous. But you’re free to say anything. You’re not necessarily biased by how the audience will respond. That is a powerful place to create from if you’re willing to embrace it.
Are you addicted to the glow?
As your blog grows in popularity, it’s not uncommon to become addicted to the glow of audience response. Pretty soon, you start to approach every piece of content with the question “What will they think?”
If you create something they love, you feel good, and you want to get that feeling again. I usually dread it when one of my posts does well here at Mark’s blog because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to replicate that glow.
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If you create something they hate, and it upsets a few of your readers, you start to hold back and quit taking risks. At the same time, you begin to avoid the risk of creating something remarkable.
Don’t Try to Replicate Success
Every single time I’ve written something with the intention of making it as good as a post that went viral or was a big hit with my readers, it falls flat! That’s simply because it’s not authentic. I’m trying to apply a formula to authenticity.
Don’t forget that just because it’s words on a screen, people can’t feel what’s coming across. If you’re trying to replicate the previous positive response from an audience, you’re doomed before you start. At best you’ll create a pale imitation of your best work. It’s what I think of as the sequel syndrome. Most movie sequels are terrible. Remember the Karate Kid?
Try What’s Never Been Tried
We all know that “lists” posts seem to get shared a lot. It’s also the reason every single time I submit one Mark sends it back to me without his stamp of approval. He forces us to try what’s never been tried. To accomplish what’s never been done, you must try what’s never been tried. Look at the so called “best practices” adapt and break a few rules. It will change your work.
The reaction isn’t yours; it belongs to them. The art is yours – Seth Godin
What do YOU think?