I've always wanted to be some kind of writer. When I was young, as in 12 years old, I started writing both a book of poetry and little mini plays based loosely on Star Trek, along with another friend of mine. When I got to college, I continued writing poetry, but I also started writing music and song lyrics, journaling every year I was a student, as well as taking a shot at composition.

Starting to write
via Compfight

After I graduated college, I continued writing music, lyrics and journaling, and I started trying to write a novel... that I never finished. I started 3 stories, but I've never made it through the first third of any of them.

As the years went on and I worked on my professional career, all of my writing activity eased off, as I concentrated more on the work than the dream. It wasn't until I decided to go into business for myself that I resumed writing of any kind. I had to create marketing letters and material, and I decided to write a different type of book, nonfiction, on leadership.

After the book was finally finished, I decided it was time for another kind of writing, and I started writing my first newsletter. This time my intention was different. One usually writes poetry, books, and music more for themselves than for anyone else; if someone else enjoys it, that's a bonus, but it's not the intention. When one starts writing a newsletter, it's for someone else to read, because you're hoping to show your knowledge while marketing yourself.

I sent the first newsletter out to a lot of people I knew, both friends and business associates. I asked everyone what they thought of it as my first effort.

To say it was a rousing success wouldn't be accurate. More than 90% of the people I sent it to didn't comment at all. Out of those who did, more than half of them absolutely hated it, and out of the half that didn't hate it, half of them were lukewarm.

What was funny is that no one hated any of the content, or even commented on it. What they hated was the layout, the editing, some of my choices of words... in essence, what happened is others had an idea of what they wanted to see, and I hadn't given them what they wanted to see. I also hadn't specified what I wanted to hear from them; that was my fault.

What else was interesting is that all of these people disagreed with each other on what they wanted to see. There was no possible way that I could draw a consensus on what I should change or fix because there wasn't one defining complaint from everyone who had something negative to say. Almost all of them countered something someone else said, although none of them knew it at the time. Talk about weirdness!

At that point, I had a decision to make; give up the ghost and the dream, try to change for everyone, or continue, do things my way but with a few modifications. I decided on the latter, and I'm glad I did. Writing that newsletter, along with a second one on health care finance, both of them for over 10 years, were joyous.

I learned a few things along the way.

My writing improved greatly; whew! If I'd asked people what they thought of those early newsletters, I might have improved faster. When I put together my second book, Leadership Is/Isn't Easy, I included content from a lot of those early newsletters, half of which I had to rewrite because... let's just say they were horrible! 🙂

I learned that most people won't comment on what you write, even when you ask them. Over all these years, I've received few comments on things I write, including the blog posts here. It makes me value anytime I receive a good comment (not spam) because it tells me I actually reached someone's mind or heart.

The major lesson; I found that if one tries to please everyone you won't please anyone. I found that the creation of something is more important, more satisfying, and ultimately more enriching, than giving up or trying to be something you're not. If you can't please anyone but yourself... do it anyway!

That's the type of diversity that makes the world go around. Everyone produces their own thing, even if it's similar to something else, but there's an audience for everyone. You never know if you'll end up being a big hit or a flop, but you'll know more than you would if you never take any chances.

If you ever feel hesitant to do something because you fear what others might say, or you're worried it might not be good enough... do it anyway; what do you have to lose?