I’ve noticed a pattern on the web that I really should have noticed earlier: it seems that everyone with a website (even just Twitter!), are aiming for fame in some form. This applies to my travel writer friends, too.
Think about it. Nearly everyone I see on social media sites is clamoring to get the word out about their latest album, article, blog post, photo… and yes, even book. This in and of itself isn’t a bad thing if it is done politely and with balance (i.e.; sending something other than promotional messages most of the time). But more and more, I see this undercurrent becoming stronger over time. It is almost as if people feel that they need famous in order to be successful.
But is this really true? What is success, anyway? Is it being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want? Is it being able to affect the people you wish to affect? Is it merely being able to feed yourself by doing work that you love?
Any of those answers could be true for you, or none of them at all, because if you look at it completely honestly, success is a highly personal idea.
If you feel like you need 50,000 twitter followers or 10,000 Facebook friends to be successful in your work, I encourage you to rethink your assumptions about what success is.
The truth is, we are all obscure on some level. Even Hugh Howey, one of the most successful independent authors of his era, would be completely unrecognized if he walked down the streets of Manhattan. The reality is that unless you’re one of the mega-famous people, you are straight up obscure to the public. So don’t worry about obscurity. Everyone has some level of it.
Fame isn’t the point; serving the people you want to serve is.
It has been said that it takes 1,000 true fans to support an artist, and while that idea has been met with some criticism over the years, it’s not far off the mark.
Do you really want to be famous, or do you just want to make a living off of what you love? It’s an important distinction, and how you answer that question will affect how you talk to your audience and how your audience talks back to you.