Lessons for Writers from 100 Daily Videos

Last week I talked about the pros and cons of focusing on growing followers online. Today I want to explore that further, and use this as a framing: this week I celebrated sharing 100 daily videos on Instagram. Each day I recorded a 1-minute video with advice on creating and sharing. This is what all 100 of them look like:

Dan Blank's Instagram Reels

You can see them all here. Of course the first thing to notice is the content. Every day I showed up on camera. This aligns with a lot of traditional “best practices” around content: making it frequent, original, keyword-rich, and aligned to the work I have done in helping writers full-time for 13 years. Here is a sampling of some of the video topics:

But the value here is not just about the content, it’s also about the connection with others. As I’ve said many times, the work we do in sharing what we create is about communication and trust. The things that are inherently human.

My methodology for helping writers share what they create focuses on this. It’s a system, and baked into it all is a focus on effective communication, meaningful relationships, collaboration, and how what we create connects us to each other.

The Creative Success Pyramid

Let’s talk about some lessons from sharing 100 days of videos…

Growth in Engagement and Audience

Of course, the easiest way to talk about “results” is to discuss numbers. I didn’t have any specific goals when I started sharing daily videos, but I began tracking some basic data midway through. The results? I’m growing followers way faster on Instagram than I ever have.

Since March 1st when I started this, I’ve had about 20% growth in followers. For comparison, it previously took an entire year to see that kind of growth before.

But more than that: engagement is way up. More likes, more comments, more people mentioning the videos to me via phone and email. It feels amazing when someone comments or mentions a video or reshares it. Just to know that I did something that inspired or helped a writer or creator.

It’s been neat to see which videos reach more people. Most of them get hundreds of views, but one had nearly 15,000 and plenty of others have had 1,000+ views. Is the goal MORE NUMBERS? Of course not. But it is a useful metric to see if my message is reaching people.

And for those of you who are more business-minded, these 1-minute videos fit into a traditional marketing funnel as well. Right there at the top, the widest part:

The Marketing Funnel

The videos helped people consider how they can create and share their writing. In doing so, it made more people aware of my mission. The videos give a nice open “way in” to what I do.

Could someone see a video, then follow me? Then like what I share and see that I have a podcast and listen to that? Then hear me mention my newsletter and subscribe to that? Then read my book? Then maybe one day hire me, or recommend my work to a friend? It’s all possible. And it can start with a simple 1-minute video.

I would encourage you to think about this for your own goals. What are the things you can do that lead people toward your work, then to engage with you in ways that matter to you. A marketing funnel is rarely one step. It takes time for people to become aware of your work, to understand it and see if it aligns to what they value, to consider if they want to make it a part of their life, to actually take the step to buy your book or read your essay, then to choose to hear from you again, and potentially recommend your work to others, perhaps throw a book review. That is why the concept of having an author platform even exists, to provide writers a variety of ways for readers to learn about your writing and consider if it is for them.

Even though I’ve shared online since 2006 and this has been my full-time work since 2010, I would say I’ve learned a few things through these 100 daily videos:

  • I am finding new ways to share my voice. The limit of a one-minute video turned out to be a wonderful way figure out new forms of expression. I’ve often said that art thrives with limits, and this is no different. To share one useful thing for 1-minute a day became a challenge at first, then a nice creative canvas.
  • Sharing my actual voice and face each day felt really nice. To show up in someone’s feed, just me being me. Perhaps it reminded me of walking into a local coffee shop and saying hello to all the regulars. Talking about how we can create and share is the real me. I’m not here to entertain you. I simply admire people who write and feel that magical things happen when they share. So I’m gonna talk about that every day.
  • Sharing frequently increases the chance of luck. What kind of luck? Reaching more people in a manner that is meaningful to them. The difference between sharing once a day and once a week over the course of a year? 313 more chances each year to connect with another human being.
  • It feels great to have created an archive of helpful videos so quickly. I mean imagine this: going from “Ugh, I’ve never really done much with Instagram Reels,” to “Wow, I’ve shared 100 Reels, all aligned to what I love talking about, within a 3 month period.”
  • Sharing gives people new ways into your work. Each video is a seed. In some ways, I never know when it inspired someone, when it helped them, when it may encourage them to take a positive action that I wouldn’t be made aware of. This is why we share what we create.

As I write this, something I’m noticing is that so many of the “results” I am talking about here are internal. Creating these videos and sharing them has helped me as a creator, and as a human-being. The results of what we create and share need not always be measured as an “impact” in the world. Sometimes the most powerful results are what changes inside you.

Why Vertical Video Matters Right Now

So why am I doing these kinds of videos? Well, I would describe them as “vertical video.” These vertically framed videos (thin and tall, instead of short and wide) are the lifeblood of TikTok. And the success of TikTok has caused YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to not just embrace vertically oriented videos, but prioritize them.

What I have found in the process is this: when I share vertical videos through Instagram Reels, they show it to more people who don’t follow me. So what this means is that it is solving for the issue that so many people face on social media: “how do I extend my reach?”

There are other benefits:

  • Since all the major social networks now have vertical video, you can create a video for Instagram Reels, then also upload it to TikTok, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts. This is also partly why I kept my videos to a 1-minute length, YouTube Shorts still has that time limitation.
  • Since Instagram doesn’t want to lose audience to TikTok, they have been embracing Reels and from what I have seen, they are promoting this content to new people more than other things you share on Instagram, such as photos on the main grid feed, or Stories.
  • Because of this, it feels more likely to go “mini-viral” through Instagram Reels than their other feeds. I say “mini-viral” because I know I’m not posting something that goes viral. But it feels good, when a video suddenly gets 10,000+ views, which is more than my average views to a photo.
  • When you create an Instagram Reel, you can easily share it to Instagram’s other two feeds: the main grid, and the Stories feed. I find that some people primarily look at one or the other, so it’s nice to feel that I am “covering all my bases” on Instagram and their somewhat confusing system of feeds.

Do you have to do vertical videos? Nope. Do you have to put your face in them like I did? Nope. But I have found that people resonate with video, and vertical video in particularly has been engaging to people in new ways. Using them is a communication skill you may want to consider developing.

My Step-By-Step Process for Creating Daily Videos

After just a few days of doing these videos, I fell into a repeatable process that I stopped thinking about. This is exactly how I create a 1-minute video each day:

  1. Think of an idea. Sometimes this happens as I’m turning on my studio lights just before recording. While I have started a spreadsheet to plan out some video ideas, I still find on most days I am simply recording a video of a topic I am thinking about at the moment.
  2. Turn on 2 studio lights, my camera, the teleprompter monitor, and move my mic over to be in front of me. These tools are all set up and ready to go at a moment’s notice, so it’s just the matter of a few small movements.
  3. Write a brief script in a text file. I open up a file and jot down an idea for the title of the video, and then just a few points I want to cover.
  4. I open up my web browser and type “stopwatch” into Google and one pops up. This helps me time if I am coming close to the 60 second limit.
  5. I open up Quicktime to check the lighting, if I am framed well, and if my hair is doing anything weird.
  6. I record these using a program called Screenflow. But honestly, any basic video recording app would do, such as Quicktime.
  7. I start the stopwatch and click record. Mostly I do one take. Sometimes I have to do two if I mess up, or find I am running over the 1-minute mark.
  8. I do a simple edit of the video within Screenflow: cropping the video to 1080×1920 (the vertical video dimensions), cutting off the very beginning and very end, and then exporting it.
  9. I open up thumbnail image template I created in Photoshop, change the text to the title of today’s video, add in new screenshot from video, and save that.
  10. Then I move the video file and thumbnail file to Dropbox.
  11. On my phone access those files via Dropbox app and save to my camera roll.
  12. Then I open up Instagram, click to create a new Reel, and select that video file.
  13. I use the “transcript” sticker, double-check for any small changes I need to make in the transcript, and reposition it.
  14. I upload the thumbnail, then type out the title of the video. I rarely bother with hashtags.
  15. I keep the box checked that also posts the Reel to my Instagram grid.
  16. After it uploads, I click the little paper airplane icon to also share it on my Instagram Stories.
  17. Then on my phone, I upload the video to TikTok, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts. I don’t bother with a transcript or thumbnail for any of those.

Do you have to use this process? Nope. You can just take out your phone, open Instagram, record a Reel and post it in a few steps.

How long does it all take? I recorded the time one day this week, and it felt like the average time per day: 15 minutes in total. This is how it broke down:

  • 2 minute to think of an idea, write the script, and turn on the equipment.
  • 4 minutes record and edit the video.
  • 9.5 minutes to upload the video to all four social networks.

It is certainly funny for me to reflect on what this says about the process for someone to write, prepare to publish, and then share their work. Writing is work. But so is preparing to publish. And of course, sharing is too. Sometimes the writing can take 4x longer than sharing, but sometimes it works out the opposite. To me, I see this all aligned to the same goal: sharing your voice. Each part of this process feels essential to that purpose, regardless of how long one step takes over another.

Is it Worth It?

I think so. Instead of thinking, “Will I stop?” I more often ponder the opposite: “What would happen if I did two videos per day? Or three?”

A writer I’m working with recently said to me that since we began working together her sense of belonging to, and engagement with her literary community has increased. That is what I have found in this process as well. It just feels wonderful to be engaged with the people who inspire me.

While one could view this as a “content strategy with measurable metrics, aligning to the Instagram algorithm,” I think it is about so much more.

It’s how we share what we create. It’s how we make our voices heard. It’s how we connect with others. It’s how we learn what it means to be public with the writing and art that matters most to us.

And of course, if you ever want help with any of that, you can learn more about my process of working with writers here.



Will 10,000 followers get you a book deal? (podcast)

I have heard versions of this from many writers over the years: “An agent told me that if I had 10,000 followers, they would sign me.” Is that true? I don’t think so. Largely, I think this number is entirely made up. What agents and publishers may instead be seeking is a writer’s ability to illustrate that they can reach readers. And sometimes “followers” is simply a convenient metric to represent that. Today, I explore this topic in-depth.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below, or in the following places:

You can watch the episode here:

Will 10,000 followers get you a book deal?

I have heard versions of this from many writers over the years:

“An agent told me that if I had 10,000 followers, they would sign me.”


“The publisher is interested, but wants to see 10,000 followers before they commit.”

In every case, the writer was clear that the primary interest of the agent or publisher was that they truly liked and wanted to represent a specific book. The writing came first. But the question of followers came up in the business side of making the decision to represent an author and their book.

Do you need 10,000 follower to get a book deal? I don’t think so. Largely, I think this number is entirely made up. Nothing magical happens for you, for your book, for the agent, or for the publisher when a writer gets 10,000 followers.

But it is not uncommon for someone to say something similar to the statements above, indicating that an author’s platform, and their ability to illustrate that they can reach readers is very important for business partners to consider if they can invest in that book. What are they looking for? Help in bringing this book to readers. And sometimes “followers” is simply a convenient metric to represent that.

Agents and publishers are amazing. They are people who truly love books, believe in the power of books, and work all day to celebrate them. Why would they ever hope that a writer has done the work to grow their platform or following? Some possible reasons:

  • The author is well positioned to share the book with readers. Why? Because how people can learn about a book goes beyond basic jacket copy. An author shares the deeper reasons as to why they wrote the book, what the themes are and why they matter, as well as the human side of what it means to create it. I had dinner with an artist earlier this week and we were discussing why she will travel halfway across the country to see a single art exhibit. She talked about the difference between seeing the actual brush strokes vs a flat digital recreation on a screen. The trip allows her to immerse herself in the painting and consider the artist’s intentions. Of course, she will also be in conversation with others who helped organize, or are viewing, the exhibit.
  • Ideally, because the author has spent months/years writing this book, they understand the marketplace around these books. There may be an expectation that they have either read widely in a certain genre or topic, or that they understand these themes in deep ways. In the process, perhaps this author has developed relationships with other writers of comparable books who they could be “in conversation with” for an online or offline event. Or they are aware of the podcasts they know they should be on, or have essay ideas (and where they would like to publish them) that would lead potential readers to the book.
  • Part of how people find out about books is through their network. You as the author have spent a lifetime developing relationships with people who would love to support your book. This is partly why the Author Questionnaire that a publisher send to you after you sign with them is kind of like “This is Your Life,” filled with every meaningful connection you have ever made. The people who know you are those who will be the first to support this book. They have some incentive in bringing it to the world.
  • Even though books can easily sell for years and years, the publishing industry still focuses a lot on a small book publication window: a few months around release. Here, seeing bigger numbers helps make the case that the book can possibly reach readers quickly. It’s not hard to do back-of-napkin math that if an author has 10,000 followers vs 10 followers, that there is a better chance of them selling more books when the book publishes. Developing a following can show preparation for this moment of sharing one’s book with others.
  • Since the book is so important to a writer, I think there is often a hope that the writer will put a lot of energy into wanting to share it and talk about it with others. Not just for the promotional value of that, but for the experiential value of that. If a writer writes about _____ themes, or in ____ genre, wouldn’t they love if their life was filled with conversations about those things? I have spent my entire life as a creator of one sort or another. When I think back, sure I can remember what I created at a certain time. But I also remember the conversations I’ve had and relationships that have formed around this creative work.
  • Let’s face it: the people who work at a publisher are busy and working across many books. They will provide dedicated resources to every book, but doesn’t always mean that they can provide 100% customized support consistently for a long period of time. If an author has shown that they have developed a following, it helps illustrate that they are invested in sharing their writing with others.

Is everything written above true for all publishers? Of course not. Is this an exhaustive list? Nope. But it is meant to make a point: while the number of “10,000 followers” doesn’t matter, the more foundational reasons why having an author platform does matter.

I think a lot of writers are shocked to hear that a publisher thinks that they the author is well positioned to help promote their books. This is where the common refrain comes in: “I just want to write, isn’t marketing the publisher’s job?” While there is no definitive answer on that, I try to always keep something in mind…

You can always just write simply for the sake of creating. And I can show you boxes of art and writing I have created over the years that I did just for the sake of doing it. Care to join me to the dusty boxes in my house’s 100 year old attic? But when you want to publish, you are partly engaging in the business side of the marketplace around creative work. When you sign with business partners (agents and publishers), the expectation around that writing changes. This is where the very concept of “what is the author’s platform?” or “how many followers/subscribers does the author have” comes in.

The Pros and Cons of “Followers”

By itself, the metric of followers doesn’t say much. Too often, we look at it like a lottery ticket: “More followers means more chances, right?” Chances for… people becoming aware of your book. Of considering buying it. Of actually buying it. Of reading it. Of being moved by it. Of posting a review for it. Of showing up to a book reading. Of telling others about it.

Yet, I have spoken to many writers who have 10,000 followers or more who tell me this:

“Oh, I have no idea who those people are. I don’t know what they like, or why they follow me. I don’t even know what to say to them.”

This isn’t just someone being humble, I’ve sensed the total confusion and fear that they have. So to these people, followers weren’t a sense of total validation and connection to an audience that will support them and their books. It was one of distant apprehension. For some of those writers they even admitted: “I’ve stopped posting.”

I’ve also seen writers who have thousands upon thousands of followers, but very little engagement. There are times I would do side-by-side comparisons of someone who has 10,000 followers vs someone who has 500 followers: they each had the same level of engagement on their posts, with the same number of likes and comments. In other words: an author with 10,000 followers would consistently have 20 likes per post, and an author with 500 followers also consistently having 20 likes per post. Which is “more effective”?

In other words: the metrics of how many followers you have can sometimes be hollow, if it is not an engaged audience. And if we consider just one possible goal here: followers who buy your books and support your writing, isn’t an engaged audience the one you want? Which begs the question: would a small but engaged audience be more valuable than a large unengaged audience?

Is having a lot of followers good? Sure. Some benefits:

  • The more people you reach, the more potential you will feel you have to spread the word about your writing.
  • The more people you reach, the higher your chance of luck. So much of how buzz around books happens is about luck and engagement. Being seen at the right place at the right time by the right person.
  • When one metric is higher (in this case, followers), it becomes more likely for other metrics to be higher. For instance, a higher conversion rate from a social media follower becoming a newsletter subscriber, who then buys your book, and then posts a review of that book online.

Connection and Engagement is What Matters

What writers dream of is someone being moved by their writing or books. That it helps someone escape, to understand the world better, or themselves better. That it can inspire them, change them, and heal. It is about the depth of human connection.

This is why everything about how I help writers connect with readers is framed around the concept of Human-Centered Marketing. And why every step of the methodology I use focuses on writers forging meaningful connections with readers.

I’ve often heard that “word-of-mouth marketing is the only marketing that works,” and that has always resonated with me. Even though we have powerful tools we can use to share our writing, in the end it is about a person resonating with what you write, and then taking an action to share it with someone else.

We can try to measure these connections via followers, subscribers, likes, reshares, views and the like — but those individual numbers don’t reflect the true purpose or value behind the connections we seek.

All things being equal, if someone gives you the choice between having 10,000 followers vs having 10 followers, it is reasonable to choose the larger number. But I want to ask you a question. A writer reached out to me who said they really appreciate the way I talk about human-centered marketing, and focusing on authentic connections with real people in how you share your writing. They even shared with me the story of a deeply meaningful connection they had with someone through social media. They said: “[That experience] was a tribute to the power of giving and the personal reward that ensued. It reframed the value of social media in a very Dan-Blanky way.” What they said next was fascinating:

“But I would trade that experience, as valuable as it was, for 10,000 followers.”

Oooooooh! That statement fascinated me. Which would you choose? One meaningful experience, or 10,000 followers? As I considered this, I understood that baked into the phrase “10,000 followers” is the hope that it will lead to many meaningful experiences.

A writer Lori Fontaine recently reached out to me and said:

“I’ve [shared my writing] for over 20 months now and through your encouragement I’ve learned to have the courage to open up and reveal the person behind the art. You’ve taught me that what is swirling in my head actually matters. Thankfully, I’ve heard from subscribers that are grateful.”

Your voice matters. Sharing and connecting your ideas and writing to others inherently changes their lives. It makes the world better. Is having 10,000 followers a good goal? That’s up to you. But regardless, I encourage you to focus on sharing what you create and why in a manner that feels authentic to who you are, and truly touches the hearts and minds of others.

And I think if you can prove that you are doing this to any partner you have in publishing, be that an agent or a publisher, it helps them understand how you are able to support the book you wrote.

What I think some agents and publishers want is not 10,000 followers, but rather this: “Can you give me some kind of indication or proof that you can meaningfully work to put this book into the hands of readers? Because that is difficult. We are going to try really hard. But you know what helps? If you — the expert on the topic, the person 100% embedded in your niche, genre, or industry — have spent a few years developing the relationships needed to help us out.”

Does anyone really know what to do with 10,000 followers? Will they really publish you just with that metric?

Probably not.

Instead, it is an indicator that you are a partner that can not only write a great book, but help it connect with the people who will appreciate it most. Do you know what else they would care about just as much, or perhaps MORE than 10,000 followers? For starters:

  • If you speak at 30 events per year.
  • If you are actively a part of groups and organizations that your potential readers love.
  • If you run a business that has successfully served your market for years.
  • If you show them ANY metric that indicates that you have developed a meaningful connection to your ideal readers – be it a newsletter, blog, forum, in-person events, or so much else.
  • If you show them a marketing plan more thoughtful and strategic than “I’ll Tweet about my book. Then Tweet again.”

Here are some essays I have written previously on this topic:

Thank you!


Why take the risk of sharing? (podcast)

If you are a writer, why bother sharing? Why spend your time and energy sharing on social media, starting a newsletter, or vying for attention at all? Sharing is a risk. Yet, I find that sharing what we create and why opens up the possibility for so many good things. I believe that sharing deeply matters. Not just for marketing what you create, but for filling your life with moments and experiences with inspiring people, and for ensuring your work has a meaningful impact in the lives of others.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below, or in the following places:

You can watch the episode here:

Why take the risk of sharing?

If you are a writer, why bother sharing? Why spend your time and energy sharing on social media, starting a newsletter, or vying for attention at all? Many writers have good reasons not to:

“I want people to notice my writing, not me.”

“Social media doesn’t sell books.”

“I want to spend my time writing, not marketing.”

Even beyond these reasons, we can add to that list: sharing is a risk. There are concrete risks, that maybe you’ve read about: a newspaper article about someone who shared something online and got fired from their job, or who were shamed by others. Then there are the other risks: loss of privacy, managing distraction, how it may affect your mental health, and so much else.

None of these arguments to not share are wrong. They are all logical, and often backed up by with compelling statistical and/or anecdotal evidence.

Yet, I find that sharing what we create and why opens up the possibility for so many good things. I believe that sharing deeply matters. Not just for marketing what you create, but for filling your life with moments and experiences with inspiring people, and for ensuring your work has a meaningful impact in the lives of others.

I grew up as an artist and writer, and in some ways, my whole life has been about exploring the question of how we connect what we create to the people who will appreciate it. And how doing so makes our lives better. Today, I want to share some examples of that. Let’s dig in…

When We Share Our Lives, We Impact Others

I went to YouTube earlier this week and saw a video headline and thumbnail that stopped me in my tracks:

Hank Green

This is Hank Green. He is a bestselling author, who does so much else that it’s hard to even describe succinctly. Here is his Wikipedia page. His brother, bestselling author John Green, and he have shared videos back and forth to each other on YouTube since 2007. Their channel has 3.64 million subscribers. Over the years they have shared more than 2,000 videos, accumulating a total of… okay this is a big number… 940,608,988 views. Yep, that is nearly a billion views.

Hank and John are always very positive, and have developed an amazing community. I don’t just mean “followers,” I mean community.

What Hank and John share is sometimes — oftentimes — personal. John has always been incredibly open about his mental health journey, and here Hank is sharing his news of his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment. It would be reasonable for them to not share at all. Or to only share about specific topics, without inserting their own personal experiences into the narrative.


I’ve been thinking about Hank all week. Of course, first and foremost I’m starting with empathy for what he and his family and friends are going through. But I’m also considering how Hank has impacted my life. How what he shares has made my life better in so many ways. I’m reading some of the 56,000 comments his video received and considering the myriad of ways he has impacted the lives of so many others. I’m considering how sharing his journey with cancer could possibly help others who are dealing with it, how it could help raise money for cancer research, and so much else. Hank and John have previously raised millions of dollars for charity (full details here), including more than 3 million dollars raised already in 2023.

It’s overwhelming to consider how much Hank has created and shared. But to me, it is a reminder that too often, I don’t share enough. There is more that I could share that would help others. More that I could share that would make someone feel seen, or validated, or provide a solution, or even simply create a meaningful moment in an otherwise stressful day.

If you are a writer, of course, I want you to share so that others can experience what you create. But I think there is more opportunity that that. Not just career or business opportunity, but opportunity for your life to positively affect the life of someone else.

People Resonate With the Person Behind Creative Work

If you have followed my work for awhile, you may know that I have a book called Be the Gateway, that helps you frame what you create as a gateway to ideas and stories that resonate with people. Or maybe you have heard me use the phrase “Human-Centered Marketing” to describe my methodology for helping writers reach their readers.

I know that many writers and creators want their work to speak for itself. They want the entire focus of people’s attention to be on what you create, and never on them. Of course, I respect that, and am a huge believer in having firm boundaries (more on that below.)

But I have always said that one’s platform is about communication and trust. This is different from how many view it, which is often more focused on one’s “Unique value proposition” or their “personal brand.” Bleh.

You are a gateway. And once you consider that, the question becomes… “a gateway to what?” You get to define that.

For years I have followed Nuseir Yassin and Alyne Tamir, two video creators who share on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Nuseir has 21 million followers on Facebook, and Alyne has 2.8 million followers there. They share videos on travel and culture and so much else. For the past 6 years, they have been a couple. Then this week, they announced that they are breaking up. They shared a video explaining it:

Nuseir Yassin and Alyne Tamir

This of course, is incredibly personal, yet in the video they share the reasons they are splitting, and even address each other directly in the video. They have been clear about remaining friends, and about supporting each other. But of course, it is clearly a very difficult time for both of them. They didn’t have to share any of this.

Yet, they did.

What you see above is not people oversharing. It is them honoring the level of trust and connection that others feel with them. If you have followed Nuseir or Alyne over the years, chanced are you resonate deeply with them. Not just what they say, but with them as human beings. Them choosing to share in this manner is, to a degree, similar to how one would share with a friend.

They are honoring the communication and trust they have spent years developing.

I am not suggesting that you need to be sharing publicly about your relationships, about your physical health, about your mental health or anything else. I am sharing the stories of Hank, Nuseir, and Alyne because too often we see sharing only as a risk. And while it is, I think it can be more than that.

We resonate with the human-side of what it means to create. The journey, the voice, the thing that makes you unique in all the universe. When you share that story, you are giving people so many more ways to discover and connect with what you create.

Establish Clear Boundaries in What You Share

I am a huge believer in establishing boundaries for what you share. When I’m working with writers, this is always something we discuss and get very specific about. Too many writers and creators feel that if they are going to share on social media, that they have to share about family, or how they spent there day, etc. You don’t.

Establishing boundaries for what you share and how you engage are critical for physical safety, mental, and psychological safety. Be proactive in determining what you will share and why, and then what you won’t share and why.

Having boundaries is the first step. Communicating them is the next. You don’t always have to do this, but I think that there are times it can be very useful and respectful to those you connect with.

For instance, I remember years ago reading about how Neil Gaiman would sometimes go to a cafe to write. But then he said he has this rule: if anyone did anything to acknowledge him, even in a subtle and positive way, he would never return to write at that cafe again. I don’t think he was trying to punish that person or the cafe, but rather, his goal seemed to be to set a boundary to protect himself. Perhaps he knew that if he was acknowledged, that fans would begin camping out there waiting for him to return. Or perhaps this was just his way of trying to have a “normal” existence in public.

If you share, be clear about your boundaries. When possible, communicate them to others.

Why Take the Risk to Share?

When I was active in writing and arts communities back in the 1990s, I noticed that those who showed up and shared their work, tended to be the ones whose work spread. They understood how to talk about their work, because they were often in conversation. That opened up new ways for people to find a connection to it. Even when one piece of work didn’t resonate, oftentimes people supported the writing and art anyway, because they were supporting the writer/artist themselves. Can the art stand alone. Yes! Does it always need to? Maybe not.

But more than that, these writers and artists lived in active creative communities where conversations around, and appreciation of, the arts was a constant in their lives.

And to me, that is a wonderful vibrant way to not only live a good life as a writer, but to develop a career or hobby in the arts.

Why take the risk of sharing? Because so much more is at stake if you don’t share what you create.