Jiwon's Alcove

The Freedom of Unpopularity

Apr 1, 2020
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt giving a TED talk.

One of the best decisions I made in creating this blog was to not chase a readership. Of course, it'd be great if people found my articles interesting, but that's not the end goal. Even if I was shouting into the void, the mere act of writing articles is meaningful in itself. It gives me the opportunity to parse the messy thoughts in my head. That way, it gives me clarity.

As you may have noticed, there is no email newsletter nor social media promotion for this blog. I have no clue how many people visit this site. It doesn't even have a niche to exploit, a disaster in search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. Instead, I go about writing about different topics as I please. And honestly, that freedom is more important to me than views.

I recently came across a magnificent TED talk by Joseph Gordon-Levitt that echoes a similar sentiment. To put into his words:

If your creativity is driven by a desire to get attention, you are never going to be creatively fulfilled.

The more I go after that powerful feeling of paying attention, the happier I am. But the more I go after the powerful feeling of getting attention, the unhappier I am.

I understand because I've been there before. I've been blogging - albeit in Korean platforms - since 2009. I know my way around how to get exposure. I just know that chasing it ain't the fulfilling route. It's difficult and demoralizing. Blogging isn't the kind of thing you can do consistently if you're in it for the subscribers. So, the best thing that I can do instead is just surrender. With extreme surrender comes contentment.

There's such freedom in knowing that I can write what I want for the sake of writing it. It's doubly nice to know that if one person ever follows this blog, they genuinely enjoy my content. And that would mean more to me than a thousand followers that don't care.