A Plea to Publish

Share your words. Sing your song. In a world of information overload, we need your signal to survive the noise.

Nov 23, 2021

You’ve been meaning to start writing online, but you’re afraid.

You’re afraid of what people might say when they read it. You’re also afraid that no one will read it.

You worry that your work isn’t good enough. That no one gives a damn about what you think.

But the fact that you worry is precisely why your work will be genuine, interesting, and unique. Because you care, your perspectives are invaluable to the world.

And yet, you hold back. “Why bother adding to the noise?” you say.

The reason you need to put your words out there is because there is so much noise.

While you fret about how it might be received, countless others who seek to manipulate and divide are publishing with abandon. They don’t stop to think. They don’t hesitate. They pollute the discourse of our world with no thought to the long term impacts. They fill the void with noise.

We can’t always control polluters, but we can counter them with genuine, thoughtful work. We can be the trees that breathe clean air into our polluted atmosphere. We can tip the scales in favor of genuine creators.

In a world of information overload, we need your signal to survive the noise.

If you don’t do it for us, do it for yourself.

Instead of complaining that the vibe is off, change the vibe. With every word and every post, you influence the culture and fabric of the spaces you enter. Your bell rings in someone else’s ear, and in turn, their own bell echoes to their friends. As Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around you was made up by people no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it.”

So what are you waiting for?

Ah yes, the fear.

Listen. I know it’s scary to publish, especially when you’re starting out. I still get nervous hitting publish on each and every newsletter, and I’m almost at my hundredth edition.

But you don’t have to go from zero to a hundred. You can ease into it.

By controlling visibility of your work, you can mitigate the risk, as I shared in Low Stakes, Strong Takes:

Instead of dumping all of our work into the ocean of public social media, we can share it in controlled environments. We can let it swim in friendly waters. There is an entire spectrum of sharing between private and public—you might call it semi-public sharing.

To share your work semi-publicly, start by ensuring it’s accessible with a URL. You can use your own website or tools like Google Docs or Notion to host it.

Instead of posting on social media, share links to your work freely with trusted peers through text messages, emails, DMs, and so on. You’ll get private feedback without having to face the fear of public scrutiny.

When you share with a trusted group, it elevates your willingness to express what you really want to say. By controlling visibility, you unlock vulnerability.

If you have something to say, say it.

Be like the bird whose chirps rise above the blaring horns of city traffic, gifting strangers with a smile.

Sing your song.

P.S. I first shared this plea in a video, which you can watch on YouTube if you prefer. I was delighted to see that it inspired several folks to take their first step into publishing. I hope it helps you too!