⭐ lessons from 100 (!) posts on bear
I recently thought to check how many posts I had on Bear, and by pure coincidence I just passed 100 posts this week!
I started blogging on Bear in June 2022 after many years of putting it off. Writing publicly has, without a doubt, been one of the most rewarding activities I have undertaken. In the past ten months I have met many wonderful people online through my blog and my writing has sparked great conversations with friends. Writing for the blog has helped me gain confidence sharing my work, learn more about myself, get through difficult times, and share beautiful moments.
When I started my blog I never expected anybody to read it save for a few close friends. So it's hard for me to believe that after 100 posts, more than 70,000 people have visited my blog and racked up 90,000 reads. The vast majority of these views come from a few posts that went mini-viral from being reposted on other sites, but still! I never imagined that anyone would want to read the silly little musings in my head. I'm touched every single time someone links to something I wrote or reaches out to say something nice.
I want to take this moment to say thank you to everyone to made this journey possible: to Herman for creating Bear; to my friends and family for loving me, reading my writing, and giving me the strength to persevere; and to all the kind strangers for supporting and sharing my work. I owe you all a great debt.
I think it's considered customary to offer some words of advice after hitting milestones like these? I'm not usually one to bend to daft traditions, but I do have some lessons I want to share, so here goes nothing:
Writing begets more writing.
People always complain to me that they like to write but don't have anything to write about. From where I'm standing, they've got the process backwards; you must write to generate ideas. Often I don't even know what I'm going to write about when I put pen to paper. The hard part is to start writing; the thoughts will flow in due time.
Once you start writing, don't hoard any ideas—use them all. Don't worry about the well drying up. You'll be amazed once you start writing regularly how easily ideas come to you. Everything will present itself as a potential candidate for your attention. You just have to be writing when this happens so you can catch it all.
Share your writing with other people. Or don't.
In my experience there's a tradeoff between anonymity and readership. The more people you share the blog with, the more good conversations you'll have about it. But knowing that your friends and family might read what you write will likely also make you more self-conscious and in turn hinder your creativity and candor.
Almost everyone is self-conscious about their writing. Repeatedly sharing your writing with others will help make you less self-conscious, which in turn will make it easier for you to write. Direct sunlight is one of the best disinfectants there is.
Don't worry about being bad. The beauty is in the process.
Like most people I cringe when I look back on my early work, and sometimes I'm even tempted to take down the worst offenders. But I always leave them up, because they show me I've grown as a writer and a person. One of the most beautiful things about having a blog like this is watching yourself grow up right in front of your eyes. Try writing about everything in every which way. Don't worry about being bad. Nobody ever became a great writer without writing a ton of shit first.
Don't pressure yourself to commodify your hobby.
When I told my parents I had started a blog the first question they asked me was how I could parlay it into a financially lucrative career. Of course, this is a tempting prospect at the back of every writer's mind, but things are more fun when you don't do them for a paycheck. When you don't have a deadline to make or a niche to fill, you're free to do whatever you want. Revel in that freedom while you can.
Treat the craft of writing with the respect it deserves.
If you love to write and are serious about getting better, treat the craft with the respect it deserves. Write often, and then look back on your writing. Read widely. Share your work and solicit feedback. Push yourself to improve, but don't burn yourself out. Be careful to never snuff out your love for the craft—it's what makes you special.
Thank you so much for reading this far! I'm so grateful to each and every one of you who reads my ramblings. On a more personal note, I'll be in New York City for the summer, so if you live nearby and for some odd reason want to hang out, please reach out! I'm always happy to make a new friend.