You know that one big post you wrote?
The one that everyone shared?
I have to tell you a little secret about those people.
They have no idea you wrote it.
People share ideas first, and the Creative behind the art is usually an afterthought. They don’t realize you are an actual human being, slaving away at every detail, trying 45 different colors until you get the right one, penning 17 different headlines until you find one that “feels right.”
Until you reach out after the fact.
Until you connect, you are an idea, not a person. Until you reach out and say, “Hey Jerry,* thanks for liking my work” that person has LITERALLY no idea you exist.
*Your name probably isn’t Jerry, but it was worth putting that name there for the 2 Jerrys that are going to read this.*
I have a dirty little secret which comes from the darkest part of my brain that I need to share at this point – when I started getting some big hits, one in particular, that got shared on Twitter a lot, do you know what I wanted to do when I saw people using my handle?
I wanted to ignore it.
Not because I wasn’t grateful. Not because I didn’t see it. Not because I just forgot.
I wanted to ignore tweets sharing my work because I wanted to seem too busy.
Think about how ridiculous that is for a moment. Think about how ludicrous. I spent all this time and energy and work to get a post that went mildly-viral, and whenever it did, my ego got enormous.
“Look at us!” it said. “We’re famooooooous!!”
Certainly that post was famous. It cracked the top 20 posts in the world written that day. But I wasn’t.
So I connected. I said thank you. I responded. Every single time. At midnight. On my lunch break. At 3 a.m.
Some of them never said anything back, and that’s fine. But some of them did. Now some of them follow me for me, not just for what I write, but because they’ve realized I’m a human being.
A few of them I’ve really connected with. Not just moment-to-moment connections that happen on the Internet, but “lifetime friends” kind of connected.
After all. Isn’t that what being a Creative is all about?