The Sound of Silence

What do you do when you put something out there, wait for a response and…

Silence.

No one is commenting. No one is sharing. You’re not even sure if anyone is even reading. You’ve cast your light out into the world, hoping it would draw somewhere near, but there’s not a soul in sight.

What do you do?

That’s the situation I’m facing in my writing and social media channels. I put something out there. I think I’m going to get a response. And all I hear are crickets.

It’s disheartening and discouraging. But it’s also incredibly freeing.

I recently thought back to something I read in Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist. He says to enjoy and appreciate the time you have when no one knows who you are, because once you’ve gone past that point you can’t go back. Once you’re out there, you’re open for criticism. Once you have a following, you now have expectations to meet.

But when you’re just a nobody trying to find their way, you’re free to experiment and play and really hone in on your voice and message. And you get to do it just because you enjoy it.

It’s like singing along to a song when you’re all alone in your car or home. You’re not doing it for attention. You don’t care that you’re out of tune and maybe you forgot half the words. You don’t care that nobody’s listening — in fact, you probably prefer it. You just do it because it makes you happy. You’re just enjoying the present moment and you couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks.

And that’s what I think we should remind ourselves of as we continue pursuing our creative outlets. To stop worrying about whether anyone is listening or if anyone cares, because right now it’s not about that. It’s about doing something that brings us immense joy and embracing this time we have where we are totally free to write/photograph/play/create whatever it is our souls are calling us to do.

And my hope is that someday, someone out there who needs to hear your message or see your work will come across it, and they’ll be grateful that you kept going, even when all you heard was silence.

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