An Abundance of Nothingness

When talking to a new client yesterday, we touched upon a commonplace issue: “Why is it,” she asked, “that we’re continually publishing content, but no one is responding?”

To be able to reply I knew I’d have to gather much more information, but the tone of her question made me take a wild guess: “You know,” I said, “regardless of how long you’ve been writing, or what, or for whom, there is one thing that won’t ever go away, and one that’s never there.”

What’s (mostly) never there is the reader whom you’re writing for. Even if you’ve defined ideal recipients in minute detail, you won’t ever experience the entirety of their reactions to what you’ve been working on. Yes, there will be sparks of resonance and shreds of feedback, but like an iceberg’s underwater portion, you won’t ever see the whole picture.

Putting into relation the amount of feedback freely offered by your readers with the amount you cannot see, what’s always there is an abundance of nothingness.

Some people take off, see the emptiness, get afraid, and recede, saying things like “Well, you know, no one was responding, so we called it quits, it’s no use to invest another month!” (You might want to re-read the chapters about the Krikkit wars in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

Great content creators however are writing (talking, painting, sculpting) as if they were surging ahead into empty space at full speed, only picking up the glimmer of a star here and there to stay on track.

They can afford to go at full speed because they know that the feedback they want is hardly necessary, and the feedback they need is coming from within.