Should you keep writing if no one is reading?
I spent hours crafting what I thought was the perfect blog post. I wrote, rewrote, took some time and wrote again. Then I had my husband (who, granted, is not a writer but is an honest critic, at least) read over it, and he affirmed my thoughts; it was ready to publish.
So I designed an eye-catching Instagram post, crafted a clever caption, took a deep breath and posted. Excitedly, I sat back waiting for the likes, comments, saves and shares to flood in. I just knew any minute the post would go viral and everyone would be in awe of such an insightful article. I’d probably get speaking requests, invitations to join podcasts and even a book deal.
I may be exaggerating slightly, but the reality is I did expect a high level of engagement. My neighbor liked it. My mom wrote a comment, and my best friend saved it to read later … And then nothing. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement.
The next morning during my quiet time, I read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee prayed an eloquent yet self-righteous prayer while the tax collector beat his breast and begged for mercy. Jesus then said this:
“… everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14b, ESV).
I immediately sensed the Spirit’s conviction.
Promotion and platform-building are not necessarily tools for self-exaltation unless they’re coupled with self-righteous expectations and demands for recognition. This was the state of my heart. I had somehow believed the lie that my words deserved praise and glorification. In doing so, I forgot my calling and purpose for writing: to glorify God.
When it feels as if no one is reading your writing, here are two important reminders to take to heart.
1. Remember your calling.
Whether you’ve been writing for years or you are just getting started, the call to write is a call to go beyond yourself. It’s a call to create words designed to transcend time and space for the sake of glorifying the Lord and giving insight into His Kingdom. It is a gift and a responsibility.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us of our calling and of the One who paved the way.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, ESV)
God has called you to write, not so you may boast in yourself but so you may serve as an example of His power, His provision and His glory.
2. Wholly follow the Lord your God.
In Joshua 14, Caleb reflects on his journey to spy out the promised land. He remembers, “my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God” (Joshua 14:8, ESV).
Caleb clung to the promises of the Lord. He chose obedience even when those around him did not and the circumstances looked dire.
An invitation to write is a call to remain faithful and cling wholeheartedly to the promises of God. The response of others and the circumstances around you should have no bearing on your obedience.
So should you keep writing if no one is reading? Or if you can count your newsletter subscribers on one hand? Or if friends and family members make up the majority of your social media followers? Yes. Wholeheartedly, yes.
Take heart, friend: “He who calls you is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, ESV).
Have you struggled with wondering if your writing even matters? You are not alone! Drop a comment below. I would love to pray for you!
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Thank you for this. I’ve just started writing this year. I connected with all of this. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you for this good reminder. I’ve been writing my whole life, through the raising and launching of our 5 children; created a blog despite all of my technological challenges; wrote a book that is on Amazon, but has had very limited reach. Through it all I have reminded myself that even if no great numbers are blessed, my goal must remain the glorifying of my main audience: God. Perhaps the seeds planted will grow into something beautiful that delight many more down the road. But I can’t let the discouragement that Satan would love to stymie me with, take root. So I will persevere, remind myself that nothing can thwart God’s plans for me, or for the calling of writing that He has put upon my heart, and pray that He uses my meager offering as a trust in His purposes and plans. I am glad I stumbled on this page and saw your words. Thank you again.
Thank you for these words of encouragement! I am in this space right now and have been praying about my heart and making sure it is seeking the right things. This was a great reminder and affirmation to keep going as long as my heart remains fixed on God.
Thank you for the encouragement. I received a harsh review from just one person and it sent me on a spin of not feeling worthy to write for God. Sometimes it is difficult to disconnect from the world’s standards to see God’s standards. His purpose is always higher than anything I can imagine. I love Lysa TerKeurst’s line “Rejection by man is NOT rejection by God.”
I am currently working on launching my blog and one the thing that makes me afraid is getting into the trap of craving people’s comments and appreciation. One thing I’ve been praying and trying to turn into a mantra is this : “it’s not about the likes, it’s about the light”. Your post encourages me that my thoughts are normal, but I don’t have to stay there. I have a calling. I have a message to share and the purpose of my writing is to shine this light I bear that comes from Jesus.
This article was so what I needed!! Thank you for getting inside my head for moment. I so needed the steps one and step two to help me from crossing the lines between being obedient to God‘s will and me being self-righteous in my writing.
I hit this same wall about a week ago. I came to the conclusion that God called me to write it and post it. PERIOD. That was my part, my act of obedience. The person who needs to read it will stumble on it when God wants her to find it. I have done my part in cooperation with God’s plan for me and for that random somebody out there. Appreciated reading your take on the same issue and the scriptures to hold us up in times like this.
Thank you for the words of encouragement as I “begin” the process of social network building.. It is an extremely daunting task and I will be referencing these verses often!
Thank you! You are another whom God has used to affirm his message to me. Thank you for being faithful.
It’s like you are in my head today……I typically post my blog on Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon this week, I was thinking those exact words. “Does anybody even read this stuff? Does it even matter to anyone”? Thank you for this timely encouragement. I need to prayerfully consider whether or not to continue writing my blog, whether or not this calling to write is STILL a calling. Thank you!