You Never Know Who’s Watching

When I was about 17, insecure about my writing and not quite ready to believe that you could make a life with it, my English teacher, Ms. Rix, took it upon herself to set me straight.

Ms. Rix was larger than life. She had the loudest wardrobe of anyone I have ever met. She wore magenta stilettos paired with lime green satin skirts and the most crisply starched white shirts you’ve ever seen, pulled together with massive earrings and a crown of vivacious, living curls.

She cried in class when you nailed a reading of your essay, she barrelled around the room with unbelievable zest, and never ever would she allow you to rush when she was enjoying herself.

She was the kind of wild woman I aspired to be.

I think she knew it, and before I left her orbit, she gifted me one last little bit of star dust.

“Laura,” she said, “just write. You’re good at it, and you never know who’s watching when you put yourself out there. It might not happen straight away, but people will notice your work, and eventually something will come of it.”

It took me quite a long time to believe her. The better part of a decade, in fact.

I didn’t really know what she meant by ‘putting myself out there’, and I was skeptical that anyone would notice my work amongst the ocean of stuff that’s being published every day.

It was a lesson in listening to your elders.

I started writing professionally eight years after leaving school. I started with churn-and-burn online publications that wanted as much content as you could possibly give them.

It was anonymous, high-pressure drudge work. Friends in every imaginable industry were getting their businesses off the ground, starting to make real money and after several months, I started to worry that this writing thing was just a dead end.

Unbeknownst to me, several of those friends had noticed that I was turning out three or four articles a day, when they got stuck for weeks on a single piece.

Slowly, emails started popping into my inbox. “Could you write a piece a month for me? What about one per week?”

Eventually I had more opportunities than I could handle. Ms. Rix was right.

, if you want to really make something of your writing, just start. Publish often. Let people see your work, and let them see you working.

Don’t worry about creating the perfect marketing machine or whether your content is tweetable.

Find something to write about. Write about it often. Publish it somewhere, anywhere. Repeat, repeat, repeat. You never know who will be watching.